Mary was born in Brooklyn New York to a working class family. Music and theater were important to her from a very young age.
Mary was able to sing well by the time she was three years old. She began studying voice, choral work and concert work including The Brooklyn Borough Chorus at 12 years old. She continued with these studies all through High School where she participated in many productions and took part in dance classes, vocal classes and acting classes. She was enrolled in a very special high school, which was an experiment in education, called, John Dewey High School. While there, she discovered how to work towards her goals as an artist. The programs in the arts at Dewey at the time produced many who went on to have great careers in the fine arts and performing arts.
Mary auditioned for and was accepted by The Julliard School of Performing Arts. However, her family was unable to afford such an expensive education. Instead, she received her college education at Brooklyn College where she was able to take a double major in both acting performance and costume/makeup design. Mary was also lucky enough to study with the late Stephen Langley expert in theater management as well as other highly skilled teachers such as Marge Linney, Ellie Reinfelid and many other actors and designers of film and stage.
After college, Mary and a few other friends began producing their own works including Godspell; Merrily We Roll Along, Company and, more serious works including those by Sam Shepard and other contemporary writers. None of the Above Theater Company was formed and incorporated and went on to produce more than 20 years of work including many by new playwrights, award winning shows and major participation in the Fringe Festival in NYC.
Mary continued to work on her acting skills all through her life working with some of the best teachers in the country including Larry Moss, Warren Robertson, Uta Hagen, Phil Gushee and others. Mary studied many different types of techniques including an extensive study of the Meisner technique.
Mary never put down the study of voice and has studied singing all of her life. Early in her life, she decided to embark upon what has become a thirty- year study of Opera, which included the use of the voice as well as, learning the Dramatic Soprano and Mezzo Soprano repertories.
Mary has also studied and learned a large repertory of musical theater work. Mary has performed at St. Stephen’s Church, The Donnell Library Opera series, Merkin Hall, Carnagie Hall and with The Chelsea Opera, Genesis Opera, Herkaleone Studios, and the Queens Opera. She has been in productions of Suor Angelica, La Gioconda, La Forza Del Destino and Cavalleria Rusticana. She has sung various pieces from many of the great Italian operas in concert and has also sung in German and French. Mary has had the great fortune to study with some of the best teachers in New York City including one of Maria Callas’s students, Julliard educated singers, members of the Kirov Opera in Russia and Broadway stars.
After some years away from straight acting during which she continued to work diligently on her voice and raising her son, Mary met up with Jay Michaels who was in the process of forming what would become Genesis Repertory Ensemble. Mr. Michaels cast her as Gertrude in Hamlet. This began an 11-year journey of work on Shakespearian roles including roles in Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Julius Caesar, Richard III as well as Marlowe’s Faustus and numerous roles in more contemporary works. Mary felt that Shakespeare was an ideal fit for a performer like herself. Voice, drama and acting skills all come into play when doing Shakespeare.
Several years ago, Mary opened a division within Genesis called GAIA specifically for female artists where she performed in Medea and directed Medea and Lysistrata. The work done by GAIA was intended to give female performing artist full control of their projects help to empower and open the minds and hearts of the artists involved. It was during this time that she began teaching acting, voice and creative empowerment classes.
Mary also specializes in teaching singers how to act. She has also taught courses on the history of Opera. Mary has now taught for over 10 years. Mary has served as the General Manager of Genesis, where she has been a board member since its inception and now holds the post of Artistic Director.
During her career, Mary has also directed many plays and concerts including: Medea, Lysistrata, The Indian Wants the Bronx, This Property is Condemned, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and several of the concert series called Arias and Sonnets. She has Assistant Directed and Stage Managed for many shows and concerts as well.
Most recently she directed “The Check is in the Mail” at the NYC International Fringe Festival. It was highly praised.
Design work has always been in her life. Mary has designed costumes, hair and makeup for None of The Above, Genesis, Chelsea Opera, Donnell Library Series, Kingsborough Community College, Queens Opera, Little Opera Society, Herkaleone Studios, many shows at the Fringe Festival, Midtown International Theater Festival and much more.
As all theater artists working in New York know, everyone needs a “day job” to survive. Mary has had many different jobs including work in the veterinary field to pay the bills. Seven years ago at the advice of other industry professionals, she decided to try to make her day job something related to the theater and film. Mary decided to get her cosmetology degree so that she could turn a passion into a second career. She finished with high honors and was immediately working in commercials, film and on many Broadway shows and professional concerts. Mary went back to study special effects makeup, which has come in very handy on stage and in film.
While working backstage on Broadway Mary has taken advantage of asking advice from those around her. Watching intently, asking millions of questions and even taking private lessons with some of the most well known names in the industry including Sutton Foster, Maureen McGovern, Danny Gurwin, Jim Weitzer, Felicity LaFortune, Victoria Clark, Ben Vereen, Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence, Jerry Orbach, Donna Murphy and Raul Esparza as well as anyone else that would let her! She has also worked with Tony Award winning directors such as Kathleen Marshall and Doug Hughes as well as designers Catherine Zuber, Paul Huntley and Martin Pakledinaz.
Because of her work as an actor and singer, Mary found her way to exploring many alternative paths to healing and spirituality. She has studied several of the major religions of the world as well as several ‘new age’ paths including Yoga, Herbalism, and Goddess Centered work. The Magic Apothecary is Mary’s cosmetics, magic and aromatherapy work. These products are a melding of her spiritual path, herbal studies and her cosmetology work.
Visit www. themagicapothecary.com for more information.
Mary decided to move back to Brooklyn after several years of soul searching. She missed the neighborhood she had grown up in and realized that she wanted to be able to give back to the Borough of her birth. Mary feels that there are many artists like herself whom she wants to form a community with and share with. She believes it is now time to give back and help those who are just starting out. She formed Bay Ridge Voice, a studio for all who want to sing melding all her work including her Operatic training, Acting training and her healing and spiritual work. Mary has a full studio of singers working towards the opening of hearts and minds each day.
She is currently studying Herbalism as well!
For more detailed information click on any of the links on the side.
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