Lakewood Legacies

Lakewood Legacies – Mary Beth Donahoe

My first on-stage appearance was in LHS Barnstormers’ 2001 production of The King And I. As a third-grader, I took pride in my pivotal line reading of “No, Miss Anna, please don’t go!” Since then, the Lakewood Music Department has been instrumental (pun intended) in my development as a musical theatre artist.

During high school, my Friday nights were spent as a Rangerette in the LHS Ranger Marching Band. As a four-year member and captain my senior year, I honed my precision performance skills as an ensemble dancer, which is a role I’ve played often throughout my career. My vocal technique, harmonization skills, and sight-reading capabilities are due to my dedication to academic choirs, Chamber Choir, and playing the flute and piccolo in band. I took AP Music Theory, to date one of my most challenging courses, and it is the foundation that enables me to excel in ensemble part-singing. LHS Dance Group gave me the platform to experiment with choreography and the logistics of arts administration, which I continued to study in college. Barnstormers was an incredibly formative organization in my life, instilling in me the values of inclusion, persistence, and storytelling. Behind the scenes, I worked on crews for multiple productions and felt most creatively fulfilled on stage. I was thrilled to be cast in both plays and musicals, perhaps most especially as Maria in The Sound of Music my senior year (2010).

I continued my education at Ohio Northern University, earning a BFA in Musical Theatre, along with a double major in Spanish and a minor in Arts Administration. Each year, I performed in the annual ONU Holiday Spectacular and Theatre Department productions, often under the direction and choreography of professional guest artists. Developing those relationships enabled me to perform in professional productions each summer between my undergraduate semesters. In fact, my agent and I originally met at Ohio Northern; he choreographed Thoroughly Modern Millie my sophomore year and directed and choreographed Footloose when I was a senior.

Upon graduation, I moved to New York City and have been working in regional theatres throughout the country, performing in shows such as Mary Poppins, Newsies, White Christmas, Guys and Dolls, and Oklahoma! In 2015, I went on tour with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as a member of the ensemble and understudy for the role of Belle, which I performed in both Columbus and Cincinnati, among other cities. Most recently, I was on the First National Tour of Mean Girls, a musical written by Tina Fey and helmed by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw. As a member of the ensemble, I also cover the roles of Cady Heron, Gretchen Weiners, and the Adult Women, all of which I’ve performed in various venues throughout the country. It was truly a dream come true to play my hometown theatre, the Connor Palace, at Playhouse Square in December 2019.

My love for musical theatre and the foundation of my career successes in the performing arts industry were built and nurtured by the encouragement, instruction, and abundant opportunities that were available to me through the support of the Lakewood Music Department. I am forever grateful!

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