Christine Ebersole was a big noise from Winnetka, Ill., who blew into Manhattan, N.Y., and made her mark in daytime soaps, "Saturday Night Live" and Broadway musicals in the 1970s and '80s.
The blossoming star — who makes her venue debut at Feinstein's at the Nikko tonight — then followed a western wind to a healthy roster of film and television roles.
Years later, as 40 loomed on the horizon, Ebersole experienced the dearth of offers that afflicts too many women in Tinseltown. She took up a New York state of mind again.
"I moved from Hollywood to Maplewood," she says, adding, "What a difference a leaf makes!"
The difference was a series of Broadway triumphs, spotlighted by Tony Awards for "42nd Street" and "Grey Gardens." She also launched a lauded cabaret and recording career, collaborating occasionally with noted pianist and entertainer Billy Stritch.
Just past her 60th birthday, Ebersole's calendar has been brimming with projects, including the starry romantic ensemble comedy "The Big Wedding" with Diane Keaton and Robert De Niro, as well as a third season of the TBS series "Sullivan & Son."
She also signed on to the cast of "American Horror Story: Coven," which starts airing next month.
"I'm totally riveted by it," she says. "I had my throat slit. Is that telling tales out of school? I hear they say on that show that if you're dead, you're pretty sure to come back."
The content was no surprise as she screened the prior seasons before signing on, though she admits, "I can't watch all of it because I'm too much of a scaredy cat."
Whether it's horror or comedy, Ebersole enjoys working in the ensemble environment. "It certainly takes the weight off," she laughs. "It feels like ensembles are the way things are being geared today and I'm going with the opportunities as they present themselves. I really enjoy it. You get to do your thing and there's all this camaraderie."
Ebersole can also grab the solo spot anytime she wants on the cabaret circuit.
"I love singing — it's my passion — and I love telling stories, and that's the perfect environment for that."
The stories she'll be telling and songs she'll be singing in her latest act, "The End of the World as We Know it Cabaret," are about what she calls "shifting the paradigm of the end of the world, and finding the steadfast, the eternal in all of the crazy s*** that's going on! It's a challenge to really focus on what is eternal," Ebersole says, "and what is eternal is love."Christine Ebersole
Where: Feinstein's at the Nikko, 220 Mason St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $40 to $85
Contact: (415) 394-1111, www.feinsteinssf.com