Testa at Gimme a Break Gala, December 2011
June 4, 1955|
Mary Testa (born June 4, 1955) is an American stage and film actress and singer. She is a two-time Tony Award nominee, for performances in revivals of Leonard Bernstein's On the Town (1998) and 42nd Street (2001).
Testa was born in Philadelphia and has one sister. At age four, her family moved to Rhode Island. She studied acting at the University of Rhode Island. Testa left school to move to New York in 1976 to pursue a performing career.
Testa made her debut Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons as Miss Goldberg in William Finn's one-act musical In Trousers (1979), part one of his "Marvin Trilogy." She next performed in Finn's March of the Falsettos, and later in Company, at Playwrights.
Her Broadway roles include Joyce Heth in Barnum (1982), movie columnist Hedda Hopper in Marilyn: An American Fable (1983), Angel in The Rink (1984), Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1996-1997), Madame Dilly in On the Town (1998), Magdalena in Marie Christine, Maggie Jones in 42nd Street (2001-2002), the Matron in Chicago (2005), Melpomene in Xanadu (2007-2008), General Matilda B. Cartwright in Guys and Dolls (2009) and Madame Morrible in Wicked (2014).
She is a frequent collaborator with such acclaimed musical dramatists as William Finn (Infinite Joy, A New Brain, In Trousers) and Michael John LaChiusa (Marie Christine, See What I Wanna See, First Lady Suite), while also having appeared in the works of Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Flaherty & Ahrens, and Leonard Bernstein, among other Off-Broadway and regional theatre credits. She also frequently performs in concerts and cabaret shows.
Testa made her film debut in Going in Style (1979), and has appeared in numerous movie and television roles since, including Sophia in the 2003 sitcom Whoopi, Zia Maria Luisa in the 2014 film Big Stone Gap, and Sister Clare in the 2004 film adaptation of Tony n' Tina's Wedding. She also appeared in such films as The Business of Strangers (2001), Stay (2005), Eat Pray Love (2010), The Bounty Hunter (2010) and the TV series Law & Order, 2 Broke Girls, Smash, White Collar, Cosby, Sex and the City, and Life on Mars.
In addition to her show albums, Testa and Michael Starobin released an album, Have Faith, in 2014. It contains contemporary interpretations of songs by artists such as Alanis Morissette, Prince, The Beach Boys, Leonard Cohen, Finn and LaChiusa.
|1999||Tony Award||Best Featured Actress in a Musical||On The Town||Nominated|
|2001||Tony Award||Best Featured Actress in a Musical||42nd Street||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Nominated|
|2004||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||First Lady Suite||Nominated|
|2005||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||String of Pearls||Nominated|
|2006||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||See What I Wanna See||Nominated|
|2012||Special Award||Queen of the Mist||Nominated|
|2016||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||First Daughter Suite||Nominated|
|Irvine International Film Festival||Best Actress||The Mother||Nominated|
|Maverick Movie Awards||Best Actress: Short||Won|
|Melbourne Indie Film Festival||Best Actress in a Short||Won|
|Portsmouth International Film Festival||Leading Actress in a Short||Nominated|
|Wild Rose Independent Film Festival||Best Actress - Short Film||Won|