If you haven’t heard by now, Martha Stewart’s life story is coming to New York in the form of a musical.
Part comedy with a side of tragedy and a lot of camp, the musical, called “The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Martha Stewart,” comes from the mind of Ryan Raftery, a former Coach employee, who will play Stewart on stage at Joe’s Pub in August and September. The show will then likely have a run in Los Angeles.
The “Martha” completes a sort of theatrical media trilogy, which included musicals about Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Bravo’s Andy Cohen. (Raftery wrote, directed and starred as the lead in both productions).
“It’s a survival story,” Raftery said of his latest play. “Martha’s life is far more documented than Andy Cohen’s or Anna Wintour’s….the fact that she went to prison has an operatic quality. She understands that it gives her great credibility.”
According to the actor, Stewart’s life story is one of ups and downs, with the media mogul clawing her way to the top and doing so unapologetically.
Although that theme seems to run through all three musicals, Raftery explained that Stewart differs in that her life is more of a calling. In other words, Stewart’s mission to instruct the world that there’s only one right way to do things — and it’s her way.
“Anna Wintour sells you a fantasy. You can read Vogue from now until the day you die, but it doesn’t mean you can’t afford that Chanel suit,” he said. “Martha sells perfectionism.”
That perfectionism is explored by examining Stewart’s relationship with her father and her daughter, Alexis. Raftery also looks at Stewart’s somewhat unlikely friendship with Snoop.
“Her father instilled in her, if you don’t do it right the first time, do it again,” said Raftery, who spent nearly a year researching and writing the play. “And her daughter grew up with a glue gun pointed at her head.”
Stewart’s searing gaze isn’t lost on Raftery, who hopes Stewart swings by to see the show, which kicks off on August 7.
“Martha is the queen of zero f-cks given,” he said after being asked if he thought she would actually come. (Neither Wintour nor Cohen ever attended their shows).
“I will follow the proper channels to invite her,” he said. “But it’s a hell of a lot of pressure on opening night.”
Tickets are currently on sale for $35 at publictheater.org.