Broadway star dead at 57
NEW YORK — Actress and soprano Marin Mazzie, a three-time Tony Award nominee known for powerhouse Broadway performances in Ragtime, Passion and Kiss Me, Kate, has died following a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 57.
Mazzie died Thursday at her Manhattan home surrounded by close friends and family, said her husband, actor Jason Danieley. Her death was confirmed by her publicist, Kim Correro.
Tributes came from all across Broadway, including Harvey Fierstein, who wrote, “Beautiful, brave and inspiring. A glorious voice and an even better human being” and Michael Urie, who called Mazzie “luminous.” Actor Daniel Dae Kim wrote: “The lights of Broadway all shine a little dimmer tonight.”
Mazzie’s broad career went from screwball comedy – in Kiss Me, Kate and Monty Python’s Spamalot on Broadway and the West End – to riveting, dysfunctional moms in Next to Normal and Carrie. She earned other Broadway roles in Man of La Mancha, Bullets Over Broadway, Enron and Into the Woods.
She found out about her cancer diagnosis on the opening day of a concert production of Zorba! in May 2015 and refused to pull out. In one song, she sang: “Life is what you do while you’re waiting to die.”
Mazzie later underwent a hysterectomy, a bowel resection because the cancer had spread and weeks of chemotherapy. She returned to Broadway a year later, replacing Kelli O’Hara in The King and I.
“It’s very emotional for me,” she told The Associated Press in 2016. “I’m so anxious and excited and thrilled to be able to bring, in essence, a new me back to the stage with what’s gone on in my life.”
The New York Times said Mazzie brought “a touch of brass” to the role of English schoolteacher Anna Leonowens. It praised her for a “husky quietness, and you hear the fragile heart beating beneath the stalwartly corseted form.”
Mazzie was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, in a home often filled with show tunes and original cast recordings. She attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo to study theatre, and her first job was in a musical at a dinner theatre in her hometown.
Mazzie made her New York stage debut in the 1983 revival of Frank Loesser’s musical, Where’s Charley? Her big break came playing Beth in Merrily We Roll Along at the La Jolla Playhouse in California in 1985, the first production outside New York.