Best known as "Grams" from "Dawson's Creek," Mary Beth Peil has had an extraordinarily extensive career in every medium! With one of the most gorgeous soprano voices out there, Mary Beth has lit up many stages with her talent! Whether she's acting or singing, Mary Beth seduces her audience with grace, style, and personality in addition to her skillful talents! Mary Beth Peil is an OBIE Award Winner as well as a Tony, Outer Critics Circle, and Jefferson Award Nominee.
She was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in Broadway's "The King and I" and received an Outer Critics Nomination for the Broadway revival of "Nine." Her other Broadway credits are "Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown" and Roundabout Theatre's revival of "Sunday in the Park With George." Off-Broadway, Mary Beth has delighted audiences in "The Room," "Frame 312," "Missing Persons," "Hedda Gabler," "First Lady Suite," "As 1000s Cheer," "Cheever Evening," "Later Life," "Sylvia," and "Finding the Sun." Regional audiences have been dazzled by Mary Beth in "Third Story," "33 Variations," "A Month In The Country," "M Proust" (Jefferson Nomination), "The Cocktail Hour," "Things You Least Expect," "Madagascar," "Wit," "Lucky Duck," "Sweeney Todd," "Hayfever," "Triumph of Love," "The Naked Eye," and "Hamlet."
In addition to "Dawson's Creek," Mary Beth has been seen in such hit TV shows as "The Fringe," "The Reagans," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," and "The Job." Her film credits include "Mirrors," "Flags of Our Fathers," "The Stepford Wives," "The Odd Couple 2," "Reckless," and "The List."
Currently, Mary Beth Peil stars on CBS' "The Good Wife" who's season finale airs Tuesday, May 17 at 10pm! You can also catch Mary Beth from June 1-12 in the Atlantic Theater Company's "10x25" festival which runs from May 18-June 26. "10x25" are 25, 10-minute plays from internationally known playwrights, directors, actors, and designers. At this time Mary Beth is scheduled to be in "Caution: This Bus Kneels. Stand Clear." by Tina Howe, "There You Are" by Leslie Ayvazian, and "This Backstage Life" by Bill Wrubel. All shows take place at Atlantic Stage 2 (330 West 16th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). For tickets, click here!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? In high school I was asked to sing a solo for the School Assembly in front of the entire student body. I was petrified, but when the moment came I took off my 2" thick glasses (had them since 2nd grade) and groped my way on stage. I couldnt see a thing so when I opened my mouth I just pretended I was at home. The applause at the end brought me back to reality. That feeling of support of respect of attention of love from all those people I couldnt see...I was hooked!
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Peter Brooke.
3. Who is the most interesting person you've worked with? I would have to say Yul Brynner because I don't think there is anyone in the world who would say he was "UN interesting."
4. What do you get from working in theatre that you don't get from working on television and vice versa? The audience, the cast who become your family, the shared experience of same rehearsal period, same sign in time, even if you're not in any scenes together...the same show time, the same end of day time all make for such a satisfying communal accomplishment. And the audience who really become like another character each performance. I love the feeling that you can dare to make a mistake or try something new because you can come back the next night and try it again or try something else. You are constantly digging deeper and deeper.
On the other hand the thing I love about the film/TV work is the precision of choices, the honesty of performance that the camera DEMANDS. I feel very fortunate to be able to do both and find each has helped me to do better work in the other.
5. Was there ever a time you thought about quitting? If so, what career would you have chosen? Oh yes. I had a 20 year career in Opera/Concert before I did my first musical. In my late 30s/early 40s I realized that I didnt really "fit" in that world. For about 5 years I tried to become a "civilian." I was a Classical Music PR Consultant, a Travel Agent, voice teacher, etc. Fortunately, I was cast as "Kate" in a Minnesota Opera production of KISS ME KATE....all the light bulbs came on and I never looked back. If I had not taken my glasses off for that first high school assembly I probably would have been an archeologist.
6. What is your proudest moment? "Proud" is a hard word to define. In my life...my proudest moments have to do with my 2 children. In my career...I would have to say being cast as Yul Brynner's last "Mrs Anna." The odds were against that ever happening and it totally changed my life. I am also proud of a one woman piece written by Mary Zimmerman about Marcel Proust's housekeeper/confidant. It was the most challenging thing I have ever worked on.
7. Favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? My living room and the shower.
8. Favorite skin care product? Kiehl's Products and Abolene cleanser.
10. "Mary" or "Rhoda"? "Mary."
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? DON'T READ REVIEWS!!!
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Is this a trick question? Actually I have very vivid dreams and a couple of "regular visitors" :)