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Martha F. Arras

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Martha F. Arras Obituary
Martha Ffolliott Rich Arras, 80, of Eastham, MA, peacefully passed away at her beautiful home in Eastham, MA. She was the beloved wife of the late Robert Arras of Eastham. She is survived by her sister Anne Lincoln Rich of Plymouth and her nephew Elijah David Lincoln Rich Langille of Plymouth. She is also survived by sons and daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and beloved friends who she cherished every day until her last moments. Martha Ffolliott Arras was born at Cape Cod Hospital something she was very proud of as she would state, I am a true Cape Codder. Marthas family left Wellfleet when she was five and moved to North Weymouth, when she was in the first grade and started taking dancing lessons. Martha would share that, I can never remember a time when I wasnt singing, dancing, or in shows. The family moved to Cohasset when she was 12. Marthas mother would drive her to dance lessons after school in Boston. When she was 13, she was supposed to dance in a TV show in Boston, but they also wanted her to sing. They brought in an instructor who helped Martha develop an uncommon huge womans voice. The instructor recorded her doing German lieder at the Boston Opera House on stage, with the microphone way out in front of the of the stage. She has amazing projection. When Martha was 15, she moved to Manhattan to attend the American Theater Wing on a voice scholarship. Martha, a gifted singer and dancer, became a Radio City Rockette at the age of 16, as well as becoming the first Rockette to also be a vocal soloist. Martha did her first Broadway show, Hit The Trail, when she was 18, under her maiden name of Martha Rich. She did a national tour in Damn Yankees with Gwen Verdon, followed by a national tour in Pajama Game, which was extremely successful. As a result of her work in Pajama Game in Las Vegas, she was asked to stay on and sing in a Jazz group. They went on to do a USO tour in Alaska, the same tour Bob Hope used to do. She thought it was a wonderful experience. Upon returning to Vegas, Martha sang jazz at three venues: the Sahara in Vegas, Harrah's Lake Tahoe and Harrah's Reno. She met and worked with artists like Red Skelton, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin and Judy Garland during those years. She performed dancing with the legendary Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Martha returned to Cape Cod in 1976. Martha played Rose in Gypsy in 1984 for John Kelly, who owned the Academy of the Performing Arts in Orleans. She also danced with Naomi Turner in the Viva Dance Company. Martha was a faithful and devoted friend of Bill W, where her life of love and giving hope to others continued. Martha worked at the Orleans Convalescent Center as Activities Director until 1998. She always derived her greatest happiness from working with people, even when she retired and became a volunteer. She co-founded the Rocking Chair Rhythm band with her mother, Sarah Rich. This group took part in the 4th of July Parade every year for about 30 years. A memorial service will be held on April 21,2017 at 11 a.m. at the Chapel in the Pines in Eastham. For online condolences, please visit www.nickersonfunerals.com. Attachments area
Published in The Cape Codder from Feb. 14 to Feb. 24, 2017
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