Theatre Geek of the Week: Marya Grandy

Introducing Marya Grandy, our next TGotW: Guest Artist Edition!

A Chicago-based member of Actors’ Equity Association, Marya will be entertaining IUST audiences as Ms. Rona Lisa Peretti in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and as Mrs. Webb in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.

1. When did first you realize you were a “theatre geek”?

My parents would say it was when I was about 2. They were doing summer stock in New England, and apparently on a break I toddled my way onto the stage and belted out “Yankee Doodle”. I have no memory of this, but I also can’t remember wanting to do anything else.

2. What is your favorite thing about the theatre, and why?

I love the fact that every single performance is different, on both sides of the footlights. What we do is so ephemeral; there is no remote control with a snapback button if we miss something. It’s one of the few remaining forms of entertainment that is truly communal, so there is a huge responsibility on the actor to connect with the audience, to communicate. I really relish the challenge of that.

3. Do you have a favorite show or role? Why is it your favorite?

A couple of years ago I got cast as Hildy in ON THE TOWN, which was a role I had auditioned for over and over again and never booked. Every time I found out I didn’t get cast, I would be devastated, because I loved Hildy so much, and I felt destined to play her. When I finally got cast, the entire experience was magical. The group of people, the design of the show, the director–everything fell into place, and I was able to say to myself, “This is why you didn’t get hired before now, because this was supposed to be the production you were in.”

4. Who in the theatre world inspires you, and why?

I have a particular affinity for Victoria Clark. Our lives have many parallels: we both attended Yale University for undergrad, albeit at different times; one of Vicki’s best friends from Yale is Ted Sperling, who is a music director in NY, and one of my best friends from Yale is Rob Berman, who is also a music director in NY. In the past few years I have played or understudied roles that Vicki performed, including when she played herself in A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING. There is no denying that she has one of the most beautiful, malleable instruments in the business, but it is how she acts a song that takes my breath away. I was lucky enough to see her in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, and her performance absolutely gutted me. When she sang “Fable”, I thought I might never recover.

5. Do you have any words of advice for our theatre students?

Be curious about the world beyond theatre. Read the newspaper every day, and not just the arts section. Travel, if you can. Volunteer at an animal shelter, or a soup kitchen, or read to kids who are in the hospital. Get out of your “theatre bubble” at least once a day. This business can be all-consuming, and it encourages self-scrutiny and myopia, so it is really important to experience the rest of the world. The hidden benefit to this is that it will make you a better actor.

6. When no one is watching, what song do you love to dance or sing along with?

I put a hurt on the entire P!nk catalogue.

Read Marya’s complete bio at


About IU Theatre Department

Welcome to the 7th & Jordan blog. This blog is a peek behind the curtain at the productions and people at Indiana University's Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.
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