meet MARY GOULD
Mary Gould is not one to worry about thinking outside the box because, for her, the box never existed in the first place.
Born in California and raised in Brazil, Mary fell in love with Charleston, SC because it reminded her of her home in South American with its colorful colonial houses lining cobblestone streets - the bustle of the city was a rhythm she knew by heart from her childhood.
Although she made her love affair with The Holy City permanent more than two decades ago, her esteemed career in the arts did not start here.
Following the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Mary studied with internationally renowned Baritone Tito Gobbi, at Rosary College's School of Graduate Studies in Florence, Italy.
Mary remembers the moment she knew she was destined to dedicate her life to singing and the arts. At 22 she took a break from her stiletto sprint in corporate America, and posted up in a plush corner office for her lunch break. She flipped on the radio - WQXR Classical - but before she could unwrap her sandwich, an ethereal voice filled the room and made its way through every fiber of her being. (New Zealand Soprano: Kiri Te Kanawa singing Strauss' Four Last Songs!)
Then and there, Mary decided she would find out how to sing with such power and presence...even if it took a lifetime to learn and master.
She leapt into the industry with enthusiasm by joining and performing for the Hinsdale Opera Theatre. Soon after, she collaborated with the organization launch the Arts Education Program to bring operatic performances to children in the Greater Chicago School System.
New York, New York!
You could say Mary got her big break as finalist for the New York Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions, which spurred her to move to the Big Apple itself to continue growing her reputation as a producer and opera performer.
During her 13 years in New York, Mary landed lead roles in more than 30 performances and international tours to include appearances at Scotland's Edinburgh Festival as La Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera.
Among her notable performances Mary produced and performed a one-woman show celebrating cultural diversity for ITT Sheraton's International Executive's Performance Series, travelling to both Rio and Sao Paulo, Brazil. She also created and executed a one-woman arts education show titled Operatunities: Mozart to Menotti! for Kennedy Center's Imagination Celebration Festival.
Not content to stay on stage, Mary became Executive Director of the New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony, a union orchestra presenting in Manhattan, and garnered the orchestra's first New York Times review during her tenure, while also establishing a prestigious residency at Hunter College's The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, 69th Street and Park Avenue. As much as she loved the city lights, Mary found herself searching for some place warmer with charm, character and space to start the next chapter of her multifaceted career. After a long lowcountry weekend, Mary knew she had found her next venture and moved to Charleston in 1998.
Coming Home to Charleston
Before unpacking her moving boxes, Mary established a private vocal studio in downtown Charleston, and expanded her portfolio as an educator to include showcasing a series of expansive seminars: Road to Broadway, Broadway Getting the Job, and I'm Getting My Act Together, drawing on her own diverse experience and the extensive expertise of her theatre network from Los Angeles and New York.
Less than two years later, she formed the not-for-profit, Marigold Arts Development, with the mission to provide performance opportunities for aspiring Charleston artists, and established its professional theatre arm, South of Broadway Theatre Company (SOBTC), with the objective of 'bridging the gap between community theatre, national, and international tours" by bringing a permanent resident professional theatre to Charleston and the state of South Carolina.
Now in its 17th year, SOBTC has been hailed by The New York Times as: "A mainstay of the South Carolina Theatre Scene". In 2016 the prestigious American Theatre Wing, creator and driving force behind the Tony Awards, awarded SOBTC one of only 12 grants distributed to outstanding theatres across the country.
Dedicated to nurturing a passion for the arts in Charleston's youth, in 2005 Mary launched Summer in NYC where participants resided at The Juilliard School. Until 2019 (the last year before the Pandemic!) The program provided a month-long Artistic Residency in New York City where participants experienced the highest caliber of artistic education available for gifted actors, singers, dancers and musicians from around the world with the intention of achieving their fullest potential as artists and creative leaders. The program is currently on hold pending assessment to re-launching post pandemic.
Ensuring the Future
Today Mary stays busy as the Founding Artistic Director & Producer for South of Broadway Theatre Company. Despite a hectic schedule she has still found time to perform: Bizet's Carmen, Mimi in Puccini's La Boheme and a rowdy romp through classical literature entitled: The Piano Man and the Diva in partnership with her long time Music Director, William R. Lewis. She was also seen in SOBTC's Noches Tropicales featuring the songs and dances from Latin and South America and travelled to Pittsburgh for the role of Madeline Mitchell in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers. Post pandemic, October 2022, saw her again back in NYC where she performed the role of Millicent in a new musical entitled: A Hallowed Affair, and there is more to come....stay tuned!
With eyes to the stars, Mary remains committed to SOBTC's mission to: "....foster the growth of a diverse community of local artists. And to be a local destination of choice for artists and performers to showcase their work and talents while partnering with other performing arts organizations. We will provide long-term and sustainable artistic value to the Charleston Tri-County arts scene.