3 Remarkable Ways Mary Kate Morrissey Defied the Odds in the Theatre Industry

Sentimental Men

Mary Kate Morrissey

Maia Penzer
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August 22, 2023 10:10 AM

The 50th episode of Quincy and Kevin's Sentimental Men is finally here, and it features the incredibly brilliant star, and one of the “most requested guests”, Mary Kate Morrissey. 

Morrissey played the role of Janis on the Mean Girls National Tour, Elphaba on the Wicked Munchkinland 2nd National Tour, Sheila on the Hair US/Canada/Japan tour, and many more wonderful Off-Broadway and Regional roles. During the Covid-19 pandemic shut down, MK and Ginna Claire Mason founded the Double Name Witches vocal coaching studio. Now, in 2023, Morrissey makes her Broadway debut as the standby for Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway. According to the podcast, MK had a "pretty traditional Wicked journey," meaning that she worked her way up from the tour to Broadway, which is typical of most Wicked actors.       

  1. You, too, can do it!

MK was first introduced to the show when she saw Shoshana Bean and Megan Hilty in Wicked during her high school years, circa 2004. "There's no way in hell I'll ever be able to do that!" MK recalls thinking to herself. Morrissey grew enamored with the prospect of playing Elphaba on Broadway and was utterly obsessed with the musical (I don’t blame her!). Although her family was supportive from the beginning & knew she had what it takes, MK was unsure. Despite her doubts, Morrissey decided to earn her BFA from Syracuse, where she honed her acting, dancing, & singing skills. As soon as she signed with her agency, she knew that she was initially wrong, and that she could accomplish her goals of one day playing Elphaba. 

  1. Roadblocks are just temporary hurdles, not permanent barriers 

One of MK's first experiences performing Wicked repertoire came as an unpleasant shock when she learned she couldn't sing the material, claiming she isn't the best vocalist and that vocals are difficult for her. She was initially "relieved" since it meant she could abandon her desire and "move on'' with her career. However, as she matured and grew as a person and performer, she took the initiative to take voice lessons, study with various individuals, work on her stage presence, and so on. MK stated that she COMPLETELY changed the way she sings, and she definitely grew as a performer by taking the time to work on her skills.

  1. Navigating the challenges of individuality

Throughout her search for a role in Wicked, MK found out how difficult it was to stand out and be authentic. When she arrived for her second audition, she was seated in a room with about 30 other girls "all wearing black Free People dresses and all singing Defying Gravity," making the process extremely intimidating, because it was difficult to stand apart. In a room full of 30 people who all have the same dream and end goal, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and like you're blending in. However, Morrissey was requested to sing “Defying Gravity” eight times, so she definitely stood out and they sensed her drive & determination! 

Sentimental Men, presented by Theatrely, is a Broadway podcast inspired by Wicked. It is an interview-based ode to the women of musical theater, with previous guests including Jessica Vosk, Eden Espinosa, and Tony Award winners Beth Leavel and Stephanie J. Block. You can listen to and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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Maia Penzer

Maia Penzer is an undergraduate journalism student at Boston University from Long Island, New York. Maia enjoys writing about theatre for BU's student newspaper, The Daily Free Press, and performing in BU On Broadway. She is an avid theatre lover who is overjoyed to be a part of the Theatrely team! Her favorite dog breed is the dachshund (she even has one tattooed on her ankle).

Sentimental Men
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