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Broadway remembers Marin Mazzie, Star of ‘Kiss Me, Kate,’ ‘Ragtime’

Category Broadway

|by Danielle Moore |


The versatile performer is hailed by her peers as ‘luminous’

The lights on Broadway are one fewer today. On September 13th, Broadway and West End Actress Marin Mazzie passed away following a 3-year battle with ovarian cancer. In a career that has spanned several decades, and saw her name in lights in both New York and London productions, the soprano demonstrated her penchant for everything from sophisticated comedy to high drama in the musical theater realm.

Marin Mazzie takes her bow at the opening night of ‘Bullets Over Broadway’ (Photo: Walter McBride)

Marin Mazzie takes her bow at the opening night of ‘Bullets Over Broadway’ (Photo: Walter McBride)

Following the news of her death, Mazzie was remembered fondly by fellow actors, like Torch Song’s Michael Urie, who remarked on Twitter that “She was luminous…Rest in Power,” while Jason Owen-Jones tweeted that the actress was “A truly special performer.” Tony Winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, who acted opposite Mazzie in two of her three Tony-nominated performances, paid her perhaps the largest tribute: “A brilliant actress, a great friend, a FIERCELY strong spirit. Marin Mazzie – you will be sorely missed!”

The breadth of the roles for which the three-time Tony Nominee earned nods for Best Leading and Featured Actress in a Musical are in and of themselves a testament to her range. She earned one for the 1997 revival of the classic comedy Kiss Me, Kate, which will see its second Broadway revival early next year at Roundabout; another for portraying “Mother” in the multigenerational American epic Ragtime; and yet another for originating the role of Clara in the Italian-inflected Passion, considered to be one of Sondheim’s biggest challenges for actors and audiences alike.

Following her diagnosis in 2015, as well as both chemotherapy and surgery related to her condition, Mazzie returned to Broadway to replace Kelli O’Hara as Anna Leonowens in the Lincoln Center’s revival of The King and I in a role that was arguably integral to what made Mazzie unique as a performer. Perhaps Mazzie’s ultimate legacy is the fact that, throughout her career, she proved her ability to tackle the music of nearly every major composer in the American musical theater cannon. Prior to breaking through with Sondheim (in La Jolla Playhouse’s Merrily We Roll Along, and later in her first Tony-nominated performance with Passion), Mazzie appeared in the Kander and Ebb (Chicago) revue And the World Goes ‘Round, and her starring Broadway roles ranged from the wit of Cole Porter (Kiss Me, Kate) to the sentimentality of Rodgers and Hammerstein (The King and I).  

Update: On Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 6:45 p.m., all 41 Broadway theaters will dim their lights in Mazzie’s honor. A previous version of this article stated that only 6 Broadway theaters would participate. 

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