Rita Gardner
Biographical Information
Born October 23rd, 1934
New York City, New York, United States
Productions The Fantasticks as Luisa (original cast)
A Family Affair as Sally Nathan (original Broadway cast)
Pal Joey as Linda English
Oh, Lady, Lady!
Ben Franklin in Paris as Janine Nicolet
The Cradle Will Rock as Sister Mister
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever as Daisy Gamble/Melinda Wells (standby)
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris as Woman 1
Ari as Kitty Fremont (standby)(original Broadway cast)
1776 as Abigail Adams
She Loves Me as Ilona Ritter
Show Boat
We're Home as Anne (original cast)
Wings as Emily (original cast)
Kiss of the Spider Woman as Molina's Mother
Lucky in the Rain as Mama/Elder Jane (originated the role)
Camille Claudel as Madame Claudel (original cast)
The Wedding Singer as Rosie (original cast)
Recordings The Fantasticks (original cast recording)
A Family Affair (original cast recording)
The Cradle Will Rock (original cast recording)
Colette (studio cast recording)
The Wedding Singer (original cast recording)
Vocal Type Soprano

Rita Gardner is an American actress.


Born in New York City, Gardner made her name on Broadway after appearing in the original cast of The Fantasticks as Luisa, the female lead. This resulted in a number of future stage roles and ultimately a one woman show Try to Remember inspired by her years on stage.

Gardner also appeared on television a number of times, including several different versions of Law and Order and the comedy series 30 Rock.


Making a memorable entry onto the musical scene originating the role of Luisa in The Fantasticks, Gardner would go on to sing a number of great roles in her career, including Linda English in Pal Joey, Sister Mister in The Cradle Will Rock and Abigail Adams in the 1972 tour of 1776.

Later in her career, Gardner also originated several roles, including Emily in Wings and Rosie in the musical adaptation of The Wedding Singer.


The Fantasticks (1960)(originated the role)Edit

  • Try to Remember (contains solo lines)
  • Much More (solo)
  • Metaphor (duet)
  • Soon It's Gonna Rain (duet)
  • This Plum Is Too Ripe (contains solo lines)
  • Round and 'Round (contains solo lines)
  • They Were You (duet)

A Family Affair (1962)(originated the role)Edit

  • Anything for You (duet)
  • Every Girl Wants to Get Married (duet)
  • There's a Room in My House (duet)
  • The Wedding

Pal Joey (1963)Edit

  • I Could Write a Book (duet)
  • Take Him (contains solo lines)

Oh, Lady, Lady! (1963)Edit

Ben Franklin in Paris (1964)Edit

  • You're in Paris (contains solo lines)
  • When I Dance With the Person I Love (solo)

The Cradle Will Rock (1964)Edit

  • Croon Spoon (duet)
  • Let's Do Something (contains solo lines)
  • Honolulu (contains solo lines)

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1965)Edit

Daisy Gamble (standby)Edit
  • Hurry! It's Lovely Up Here! (solo)
  • Tosy and Cosh (solo)
  • On the S.S. Bernard Cohn (contains solo lines)
  • What Did I Have That I Don't Have (solo)
  • Wait Till We're Sixty-Five (duet)
  • On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Reprise)

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1968)Edit

  • Marathon
  • Madeleine
  • I Loved (solo)
  • My Death (solo)
  • Desperate Ones
  • Sons Of (solo)
  • Old Folks (solo)
  • Marieke (solo)
  • You're Not Alone (solo)
  • Carousel (solo)
  • If We Only Have Love

Ari (1971)Edit

  • Give Me One Good Reason (solo)
  • Give Me One Good Reason (reprise)(solo)
  • He'll Never Be Mine (solo)
  • Ari's Promise (reprise)
  • The Exodus (reprise)

1776 (1972)Edit

  • Till Then (duet)
  • Yours, Yours, Yours (duet)
  • Compliments (solo)

She Loves Me (1977)Edit

  • Prelude/Good Morning, Good Day (contains solo lines)
  • I Don't Know His Name (duet)
  • I Resolve (solo)
  • A Trip to the Library (solo)

Show Boat (1983)Edit

We're Home (1984)(originated the role)Edit

Wings (1993)(originated the role)Edit

  • The New Daredevils of the Air/Catastrophe (duet)
  • The Hospital/Globbidge (contains solo lines)
  • Wait! Stop! Hold! Cut (solo)
  • My Name Then (contains solo lines)
  • All in All (solo)
  • Let Me Call You Sweetheart/Makey Your Naming Powers (contains solo lines)
  • I'll Come Back to That (duet)
  • Let Me Call You Sweetheart (#2)(duet)
  • I'll Come Back to That (#2)(solo)
  • Yum, Yummy, Yum (duet)
  • I'll Come Back to That (#3)(solo)
  • Tither (duet)
  • All in All (#2)/I Don't Trust Him (duet)
  • Malacats (contains solo lines)
  • Needle (solo)
  • Wings Theme (Interlude)(duet)
  • Out on the Wing (duet)
  • Out on the Wing (#2)(duet)
  • I Wonder What's Inside (contains solo lines)
  • Therapy Scene (contains solo lines)
  • Like the Clouds (solo)
  • Brownie Scene (duet)
  • Record Player Scene (duet)
  • The New Daredevils of the Air/Preparing for Flight (duet)
  • Winter Scene I (duet)
  • Snow (duet)
  • Winter Scene II (duet)
  • Wings (solo)

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1994)Edit

  • Dear One (contains solo lines)
  • You Could Never Shame Me (solo)
  • Only in the Movies/His Name Was Molina

Lucky in the Rain (1997)(originated the role)Edit

  • It's a Wonderful World (contains solo lines)

Camille Claudel (2003)(originated the role)Edit

  • Enough of Paris (contains solo lines)

The Wedding Singer (2006)(originated the role)Edit

  • A Note from Grandma (solo)
  • Move That Thang (contains solo lines)
  • It's Your Wedding Day (Finale)


Colette (1994)Edit

  • Part I: 'Willy': A Simple Country Wedding (contains solo lines)
  • Part I: 'Willy': The Claudine Craze: I Miss You (duet)
  • Part I: 'Willy': The Claudine Craze: Love Is Not A Sentiment Worthy Of Respect (solo)

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