In 1969, when Marty Andreas was a senior at Suffern High School, he was a sailor in “South Pacific,” directed by Suffern English teacher Doug Austin.
That might have been the end of his acting career.
But then, in 2001 — 32 years later — he saw an ad for auditions for Antrim Playhouse’s “The Fantasticks,” also directed by Austin.
He had seen “The Fantasticks” 50 times, when he had followed his older sister through her summer-stock productions. (His big sister is Christine Andreas, a Tony nominee for “Oklahoma!” and “On Your Toes,” who was in the recent revival of “La Cage Aux Folles.”)
Andreas told his wife, Janet, that they should get tickets for “The Fantasticks.”
You should audition for it, she told him.
He did, and landed the role of Mortimer, one of the fathers who connive to drive their children together in the sweet Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt musical.
“I went to one audition and I got bit by the bug,” he says.
It’s never too late.
Two years later, he was elected to the Antrim board.
Then he was elected president.
He produces the playbill, the website and the advertising for the theater, which marks its 75th anniversary this season, opening with Neil Simon’s “Biloxi Blues” Sept. 16 through Oct. 2.
“I just love this theater,” he says. “It’s a wonderful space and the people are fabulous.”
There have been more roles, 15 shows in the decade he has been with Antrim: from Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” to Mushnik in “Little Shop of Horrors.”
What keeps Andreas at Antrim is the potential to see the theater grow, to make improvements.
He begins to say that he’s afraid to leave, afraid of the vacuum he’d leave behind, but then he remembers a maxim from Tom France, Antrim’s longtime linchpin, for whom the theater is now named.
“Tom told me a long time ago: ‘The theater was around a long time before I got here and it’s going to be here a long time after I leave. And it’s the same with everybody. It always survives.’”
Andreas will direct the chestnut “Arsenic & Old Lace” next March.
The troupe is careful not to repeat shows often — they haven’t performed any play more than three times — and they typically wait 15 years before repeating a show.
Andreas says he might like to change that, turning to a show the Players did back in 2001.
It’s a little musical called “The Fantasticks.”
Photo by Peter Carr/The Journal News: Marty Andreas of Suffern is president of the board of the Antrim Playhouse in Wesley Hills.