Broadway performer and arts education advocate Mary Page Nance will join us as a keynote speaker at the 71st annual SETC Convention in Louisville, KY, Thu., Feb. 27, 2020.
Meet Mary Page Nance
Mary Page Nance is a New York City based Broadway performer. She was in the original casts of Finding Neverland and Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway, and toured the country with the First National Company of Bright Star. She most recently worked developing the new musical, Black No More written by Black Thought of The Roots and John Ridley, choreographed by Bill T Jones. This Winter/Spring she will continue developing the new musical, Lempicka, written by Matt Gould and Carson Kreitzer and directed by Tony Award Winner Rachel Chavkin. You can also look out for her in the upcoming Netflix Documentary: Dick Johnson. She was seen on The Tony Awards, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and TLC’s Broadway At The White House. Mary Page has performed in numerous Regional/Off-Broadway productions over the years including: American Repertory Theater, City Center Encores! Call Me Madam, When Change Comes: Mark Stuart Dance Theater, Norma: (role of Norma) Al Blackstone, Transcendence Theater, Virginia Repertory Theatre, UFMOT, Seacoast Repertory, among others. Mary Page enjoys developing new work, and has been lucky to work on some amazing shows during their development including: Soft Power, The Cher Show, War Paint, and with brilliant artists including: Sam Pinkleton, Chloe Treat, Josh Prince, Chris Gattelli, Ani Taj, Mark Stuart, Al Blackstone, and more.
Aside from working on and off Broadway, Mary Page feels passionately about arts education and stays busy teaching the world’s next generation of students. Mary Page teaches Master Classes all over the world, but also provides Private Coaching in Dance, and Musical Theater Performance/Acting Through Song. Mary Page also believes whole heartedly in the positive effects arts education has on creativity, problem solving, and ending the cycles of poverty. Her passion for using her artistic skillset to inspire others has led to working and volunteering with many non-profit organizations across the world including: Broadway’s Babies (Broadway Ambassador), Artists Striving To End Poverty, The Mariposa Foundation (Dominican Republic), St. Joseph’s Home for Boys (Haiti), Music Theater International, Virginia Theatrical Association, Broadway Junior, and more!
Mary Page also Produces, Directs, and Choreographs unforgettable performances at events and private parties all over New York City. She brings Broadway Talent to your doorstep and works closely with you to create your customized dream performance! From a Broadway Sing-A-Long Night at Rockefeller Center, to kicking off a Birthday Party with a fully staged Broadway Review, together we make magic!
I see that you grew up in the Southeast. What was the key to your making the transition to work in NYC?
I grew up in Richmond, VA, in the historic neighborhood The Fan, which is famous for its fanned-out streets of row houses. I was a city kid from the beginning and was quite fond of the view from my
bedroom window, which was a 100-year-old brick wall. After living in New York City for almost 10 years, I’ve had my fair share of brick-wall bedroom views, and it always makes me feel like home! I also went to college, which I found to be an integral part of making that transition. It was very important for me to live on my own in that safer, more controlled environment, in a city I was unfamiliar with before diving head-first into a solo existence in the “big city.” I also went to school in New York, 30 minutes outside Manhattan, which meant I had a chance to test it out throughout my four years. The proximity also fostered professional connections in New York that helped ease the transition into the “real world.” By the time I moved there, I already knew the city quite well and had experienced the fear of being in an environment that was so foreign to me years earlier. I was ready.
What was your first role on Broadway?
My first show on Broadway was an original musical called Finding Neverland. I was very lucky to be a part of the project from its inception stage, following it from a New York workshop, to an out-of-town in Boston at A.R.T., all the way to Broadway. I was in the ensemble, so I had many roles! My favorite was perhaps a role/name I created called “Miriam” who was the costume mistress at The Duke of York Theater. I even had a comedic bit part with Kelsey Grammer that I cherished performing every night.
What advice do you have for our readers on succeeding in theatre — and getting jobs on Broadway and national tours?
I could write an entire book on this question! But here are a few thoughts: Surround yourself with people who are better than you. Let that inspire you to work your buns off, especially focusing on everything you are worst at. Be everywhere. Show up to everything. Immerse yourself in the culture, and the opportunities to learn. Never stop taking class. Do everything that scares you; it will make you grow. Put your OWN work out there. Do not wait for someone to give you permission to make work and/or show your work. Create your own opportunities. Always be early. Always have a great attitude, and be game for anything (as long as it’s safe)! Be nice to EVERYONE. You never know what PA might cast you in a Broadway show one day. And the No. 1 most important thing is: Show up as your authentic self, always. Don’t try to be anyone you are not. Trust me, it does not work out in the end. Represent who you are in the room and on stage, and you will be amazed at the power it has.
You help develop works as well. What do you enjoy about that aspect of theatre?
I very much enjoy witnessing a creative process. It is a remarkable experience to be one of the people new material is tried out on and to watch how the team responds to different things. It is an environment that requires an extreme amount of focus and creative energy. Because the creative team is figuring things out in front of your eyes, you have to be ready to make bold, full-out choices, without knowing much of anything! It’s a wild rush, and I enjoy testing my brain and stepping forward with ideas. Being a part of this process also allows you to really put your stamp on a work. Magic happens when you are flowing in a room full of creators, and you never know what thing you do may end up in the show forever. It’s very exciting and empowering and gives me a great sense of responsibility.
What are you working on now? What’s up next for you?
I am currently in rehearsal developing a new musical called Lempicka. We are in the middle of a developmental workshop, and then we go to La Jolla Playhouse in the Spring for an out-of-town try-out before it ultimately lands on Broadway. The musical is BRILLIANTLY written and has an unbelievable creative team, including Matt Gould, Carson Kreitzer, Raja Feather Kelly and Rachel Chavkin, who won the Tony Award for Best Direction for Hadestown this past year. The story follows the famous Art Deco painter Tamara De Lempicka. It is an epic tale that is truly going to blow people’s minds. I cannot wait for everyone to see it!
What is the topic or message of your keynote? What message do you most want to convey to SETC’s membership?
The message I feel most passionately about right now is: showing up as your authentic self. It took me a very long time to understand this fully and to put it into practice, but everything changed for me when I did. It’s true in life, but it is especially true in this business. That’s where the magic happens.