by MK Scott
Tony Award®-nominated singer Mary Bridget Davies’ journey began in her hometown of Cleveland, OH in 2001 when she first started singing in local bands, and she hasn’t slowed down since.
Upon gaining local acclaim for her work in various rock bands, she was asked to sit in with Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin’s original band, with whom she would later tour) as well as legendary blues guitarist Robert Lockwood Jr. Her travels have taken her around the world, including a 2 year pre-Broadway run with “A Night With Janis Joplin.” She received her Tony® nomination for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.” when the show debuted on Broadway in 2013.
I had a chance to chat with the singer/songwriter by email.
MK Scott: Mary, Welcome to Seattle! What can the audience look forward to?
Mary Bridget Davies: Thank you! So excited! Ryan and I tailor each performance to highlight the city we are playing based on what’s going on in the world and in our lives at the time. This is extra special for us because we are playing in a church. It’s going to be a show of honesty and confession. Each show is different. We take requests from fans and that helps shape the show.
For the first timers, they can look forward to a lot of emotions and a few laughs, too. Ryan and I have been friends since high school and there is a lot of great chemistry here. We want to inspire and move the audience while having some fun, too! Plus, we have some amazing people who have started to follow us to around to our shows. We are building something exciting and they are a part of it.
MK Scott: You are known for playing, Janis Joplin on Broadway in A Night with Janis Joplin, what did you like best about being in that show?
Mary: The ability to use any and every personal emotional experience and plug it in to “Janis” gave me an open conduit to her truth and allowed me to go farther in depth of the character and give away more to the audience than I ever imagined possible.
MK : Were you a Joplin fan before doing the show?
Mary: Absolutely. Being a kid growing up in the 90’s and dressing as Janis for Halloween was funny because most of my classmates thought I was going as Elton John hahaha! I was raised on blues and rock and roll. She helped me through a lot of the toughest socially awkward moments of my youth.
MK: What surprised and inspired you the most when you played, Janis?
Mary: What was surprising was even when I had pneumonia and the show had to go on, it was as if Janis commanded me and infused me with the extra strength, energy and magic to tell her story. I would be dead in bed for a week if I weren’t performing but when I was in her track there was always something or someone protecting me and I believe it was her. What inspired me? Janis Joplin didn’t just hold her own in a male dominated music scene, she was the Queen! She didn’t have a famous family to get her foot in the door. She wasn’t classically attractive per the trends of her time and still she REIGNED. That inspired me. Still to this day.
MK: Who are your other influences?
Mary: SO many. Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey… all the badass singers in the world hahaha. But if you’re asking for a life influence, then Katya. I just adore her.
MK: Any plans of going back to Broadway?
Mary: I am playing Sheila in the 50th Anniversary staged concert of HAIR at Axelrod Performing Arts Center with Remember Jones, Constantine Maroulis and Alexis Michelle in August! Going back to LA to reprise my role of Janis in A Night with Janis Joplin at La Mirada Theater (La Mirada, California) in September and October. I have had a few bites for new works in 2019, so stay tuned!!
Mary Bridget Davies with special guest Ryan Sudick is a fabulous, unforgettable evening of music!
Saturday, July 14, 8 p.m., Seattle First Baptist Church, 1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle. Tickets at dorothyspianobar.com or Eventbrite.
MK Scott is a Seattle-based writer. Check out his other work at unitseattlemag.com.