A fan favorite on our site for many years is Rev. Mary Elizabeth Micari. Winner of two Drama-Queens Theatre Goddess Awards, Mary has conquered live theatre, concerts and recordings, and now she is joining the fine art of cabaret by honing her fabulous GRANNY’S BLUE-MERS, a show devoted to the brilliance of 1930s “risque” lyrics by sirens like Sophie Tucker and Mae West to Bessie Smith and Barrelhouse Annie.
Mary Elizabeth Micari, a NYC native, is known for her distinctive comedy and singing styles from stage works dating back to the 80s to her latest creation, Granny’s Blue-Mers, an act she premiered a year ago. Mary has been an active entertainer all her life in many aspects of theater, opera, jazz, blues and even teaching others to do the same. Granny’s Blue-Mers is the latest in a long list of creative endeavors she has produced as well starting with None of the Above Theater Company (straight out of college), to Genesis Repertory Ensemble (over 100 shows) to the creation of a new teaching method for her students (The PATH Method) at her M Center for Arts which encompasses her other passions of healing through sound, meditation and herbal work.
So Rev, you’re a singer, musician, actress, director, designer, AND producer! WHEW!
Granny’s Blue-Mers is now packed with talent, Broadway personalities, musical royalty, and the show is innovative. What’s it like tackling these obscure bits of musical history
I think its innovative and more than sort of! These songs were done for many reasons and much of it is unknown today. These songs were recorded by women, many of them were written by them as well. Women who because of racial oppression or financial constraints or just because they were women and were given limited access to creative outlets back in the 1910’s through the late 1950’s. I find the songs to be powerful and funny. Many use laughter to cover pain and it is a well-known fact that many comedians are doing comedy to survive the pain of the lives they are in. I feel like these songs do that too for women in particular. But I must say they make men happy too! I also like the fact that they are smart songs with interesting lyrics that cover the more vulgar meaning that they are about. I love the idea of the double entendre. The songs themselves are musically simple but the meaning and stories in them are complicated jokes that have the audience roaring! I love them they are brilliant.
What the biggest obstacle you are facing with this show
I am not having any obstacles with it creatively. I am facing obstacles getting things done without losing all my money! I am paying for this show and have been since the beginning. I had an entirely different band last year and now all have left due to other work in the business and I had to start over. I am glad though, the people I am working with now are fantastic! I am very blessed to have them working with me. Still, the clubs in NYC are very strict and if seats are not filled I am responsible for paying for every empty seat and their drinks! Still there is no other way to do it. I have been producing for over 35 years so I am used to it all! I hope this time I get to pay myself as well as my musicians! Hasn’t happened yet.
What is your opinion of indie film and theater?
I think Indie film and theater are very important to the creative life blood of NYC. I love the space for innovation and creativity that exists within it. I love the energy.
Finally, my favorite, since you all have commercial and indie on your creds, what’s its like being a woman in the NYC arts scene in the 21st century… commercial v indie.
I have worked in the professional theater for many years. I like the money! Its fine if the show is full of creative juice, which, unfortunately it is not always. Self-produced Independent art, in my opinion is always better. The stakes for the artist are higher…after all they put blood, sweat and tears into it. I have and will continue to do this as long as I can! Money or not. Although there have been strides made by women in the theater there is a long way to go. Men still run it even though more women do it and more women see it! However, I am sensing I am on a path with many other women who have decided to just do it for themselves. Reminds me of that Annie Lennox song: Sistas are doin’ for themselves! Yep.
I try to teach the girls in my studio that they are important and I am seeing that more little girls want to compose and teenage girls want to write. They don’t have the limitations my generation had. I hope I live to see the female renaissance which is brewing in these young ones. Meanwhile I will use my voice to sing out the songs of the past…for those that came before and fought for their space…my ancestors. I will stand up and hold the line for them, for me and for my students.