Marin Mazzie — singer nom­i­nated for 3 Tony Awards

San Francisco Chronicle - - BAY AREA - By Mark Kennedy Mark Kennedy is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

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, Ill., in a home of­ten filled with show tunes and orig­i­nal cast record­ings. She at­tended West­ern Michi­gan Univer­sity in Kala­ma­zoo to study theater, and her first job was in a mu­si­cal at a din­ner theater in her home­town.

A key mo­ment in her life hap­pened when she was 8 years old and saw a tour­ing com­pany of “Carousel” star­ring John Raitt. In the sec­ond act, Rock­ford was plunged into a black­out and the ac­tors needed flash­lights to fin­ish the show.

Af­ter it ended, Raitt came out and sang for the au­di­ence un­til it was deemed safe for ev­ery­one to go home. He sang for 45 min­utes.

“I will never for­get that mo­ment,” Mazzie re­counted in “Mak­ing It on Broad­way,” a book of Broad­way sto­ries. “To me, that was the magic of theater. Ev­ery night is dif­fer­ent. Ev­ery au­di­ence is dif­fer­ent. I just love the magic.”

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 San Diego in 1985, the first pro­duc­tion out­side New York. La Jolla artis­tic di­rec­tor Des McAnuff later put her into “Big River” on Broad­way, mark­ing her de­but on the Great White Way.

She would work three times on Broad­way with Brian Stokes Mitchell — “Rag­time,” ‘’Kiss Me, Kate” and “Man of La Man­cha.” (They would also work off-Broad­way in a con­cert ver­sion of “Kis­met.”) One of her proud­est ac­com­plish­ments was orig­i­nat­ing a Stephen Sond­heim role — Clara in 1994’s “Pas­sion.”

When “Kiss Me, Kate” opened on Broad­way in 1999, Va­ri­ety said “her pure and ver­sa­tile so­prano is Mazzie’s most mar­velous at­tribute. When the show went to Lon­don, the Va­ri­ety re­viewer there said Mazzie was “blessed with a mouth that looks as if it could de­vour the Vic­to­ria Palace whole.”

Mazzie was also a fre­quently booked singer at con­certs across the coun­try, play­ing Carnegie Hall, the Hol­ly­wood Bowl and with the Boston Pops, New York Pops and the New York Phil­har­monic. Her off-Broad­way cred­its in­clude “Car­rie” and “White Rab­bit Red Rab­bit.” She re­leased the live al­bum “Marin Mazzie: Make Your Own Kind of Mu­sic” in 2015.

She met her hus­band, Danieley, in 1996 at the now-de­funct theater com­pany En Garde Arts while work­ing on “Tro­jan Women: A Love Story.” They fre­quently took their love af­fair on­stage, put out an al­bum of duets, “Op­po­site You,” in 2005 and ap­peared to­gether in the au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal cabaret show “He Said/She Said.” Mazzie and Danieley also starred in Los An­ge­les pro­duc­tions of “Bri­gadoon” and a Pasadena pro­duc­tion of “110 in the Shade.”

On TV, Mazzie ap­peared in “With­out a Trace,” ‘’Still Stand­ing,” ‘’Nurse Jackie,” ‘’The Big C” and “Smash.” Her off-Broad­way roles in­cluded a re­vival of the mu­si­cal “Car­rie,” in which the New York Times said she “brings out an un­ex­pected emo­tional del­i­cacy in her char­ac­ter’s num­bers.”

She also is sur­vived by her mother, Donna Mazzie, and brother, Mark Mazzie.

Sara Krulwich / New York Times 1999

Marin Mazzie in “Kiss Me, Kate,” at the Martin Beck Theater on Broad­way in New York.

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