“GOODBYE, MY LOVE”
Ladies and gents,
This is a column I’ve dreaded writing for quite some time.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I never really allowed myself to imagine having to write this column. It was a gut punch when I first learned of Marin Mazzie’s diagnosis in 2015, but I never, truth be told, really thought this awful moment would come.
Marin projected the kind of ferocious strength that made the very idea of terminal illness seem, well, kind of silly — or at least illogical. When she returned to Broadway a year later to star in The King and I, it only seemed to prove what I had known all along: cancer was no match for Ms. Mazzie. But, alas, even the sturdiest, loveliest oaks can be felled by an unrelenting axe, and cancer is one heavy axe.
I first saw Marin in Ragtime, in the role of Mother, during its pre-Broadway run in Toronto, having somehow missed her much lauded, nominated turn in Passion. Once I heard that voice— that finely calibrated revolver aimed straight for my heart — there was no forgetting it. All I could do was hear it again, and again. So I traveled back to Toronto two more times for that run, and then to New York (I was living in Los Angeles at the time) to see it on Broadway. Though I badly wanted to meet her, and I knew my editors would gladly green-light a feature after she was nominated for her second Tony, I was too intimidated to be one-on-one with her.
It wasn’t until many years later, when she was playing a very different kind of mother in MCC’s production of Carrie, that I got to spend some time with her. If her stage presence was a paradoxical mix of elegance and power, her off stage presence was all elegance. Stripped of costumery, grease paint, and stage lights, she had a certain beautiful fragility I’d never before noticed. She was warm, funny, and vulnerable. In an instant, I loved her. And I never stopped.
What a giant loss for Broadway. My heart is heavy with grief. My thoughts are with Jason.