McKechnie, McArdle mine memories

For the next two weeks, Feinstein's at the Nikko seems to be hosting a special McBroadway edition of “Flashback Friday” with appearances by Donna McKechnie and Andrea McArdle. Both rose to fame in the disco-and-bellbottoms era with iconic roles in musical theater.

McArdle made her Broadway debut in 1977's “Annie.” Her act takes a fond look back at those years, making particular note of how an already-running hit fueled her desire to be an actor.

“If you were lucky enough to see it,” McArdle still sighs about 1975's “A Chorus Line.” That show made a Tony-winning star of McKechnie, who had previously been a featured performer in shows like “Company” and “Promises, Promises.”

Two decades later, the ladies finally shared a marquee on Broadway in the 1996 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's “State Fair” and a mutual admiration society was cemented.

“I adore her and I love her voice,” says McKechnie. “It's really a unique instrument.”

Both women worked on their current shows at Manhattan's 54 Below nightclub and McArdle's new CD “70's and Sunny” was recorded there. She jokes that she can't listen to her patter, which changes with each performance. “I can smell my ADD on the audio,” she laughs. “Hello? Squirrel!”

McKechnie, who also cameos in Sunday's “Help is on the Way” AIDS benefit concert, isn't feeling quite so frenetic.

“This is my fourth time doing the show,” she says. “I'm so happy to bring it to San Francisco and help get it in my bones.” She will record her show in London later this year.

Though their itineraries don't overlap this trip, the two are excited to be teaming up next year, along with Maureen McGovern and Faith Prince, for a reboot of the late Rosemary Clooney's “4 Girls 4” act.

“We're both older and wiser,” McKechnie laughs, adding, “though I'm a little 'more' older than she is.”

McArdle can't wait. “Can you imagine riding in the back of a limo with those girls? I shouldn't even take money for this,” she laughs, “but I will!”

Donna McKechnie

When: 8 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Feinstein's at Hotel Nikko, 220 Mason St., S.F.

Tickets: $30 to $55

Contact: (866) 663-1063,

Note: Andrea McArdle appears at 8 p.m. Aug. 23 and 7 p.m. Aug. 24.

Andrea McArdleartsDonna McKechnieFeinstein’s at the NikkoPop Music & Jazz

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