Marianne Tatum has taken a circuitous lifetime path only to find herself back in New York doing what she loves best.
As a little girl growing up in Houston, Texas, her favorite times were sitting on her beloved father's lap learning songs from his college days. He passed away when she was 9, but those memories would empower her to continue singing wherever she could. She joined the Houston Grand Opera when she was 15, and as the youngest member of that venerable company, she went on to work with many legends of the operatic stage. Graduating from the prestigious Kinkaid School, she was awarded a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music where she studied opera theatre under Maestro Anton Coppola, while a student of the legendary voice teacher Daniel Ferro.
Ms Tatum returned to Houston Grand Opera at the end of her studies to make her principal debut in THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO as Cherubino. She sang with HGO for 4 years before returning to New York to understudy the role of Anna in Yul Brynner's Broadway production of THE KING AND I. Her subsequent friendship with Richard Rodgers led to an Off-Broadway production as Maria in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, which he attended - which she refers to as one of the highlights of her life.
It was then when Cy Coleman himself came into her life, seeking a Jenny Lind for his new Broadway production of BARNUM. Marianne was given the chance to originate the role and go down in theatre history, winning a THEATRE WORLD AWARD that year for "most auspicious debut" on Broadway.
The ensuing years brought not only more chances to originate roles on Broadway, but also the chance to prove her chops in so-called "straight" plays (i.e. non-musical). Her work at the Huntington Theatre in Tom Stoppard's JUMPERS led to work in the Delaware Theatre Company in Coward's FALLEN ANGELS. She also worked at the renowned Guthrie Theatre with
Peter Sellars in his ground-breaking work HANG ON TO ME, the melding of a Gorky play with Gershwin music. Of her performance, Jack Kroll of TIME MAGAZINE wrote "The most arresting performance is by Marianne Tatum, a jolting beauty and outstanding singer who makes "The Man I Love," Feeling Sentimental," and "Mine," into the testament of a woman whose feminine power is her glory and curse."
Back in New York, the legendary lyricist Michael Stewart then asked her to create the role of Gerta Granville in HARRIGAN AND HART up at Goodspeed Opera. Leaving that to play the role of a lifetime on Broadway, she then portrayed Milady DeWinter in THE THREE MUSKETEERS. Although the production only ran for 5 weeks, Marianne was nominated for a Drama Desk Award the following spring.
It was at that time in her life when Marianne began to think about having a family. Her daughter Mariden was born the next year, a beautiful red haired baby who remains the love of her life. However, at the age of 5 Mariden, whose slowness in school had been attributed to learning disabilities, was given a final diagnosis of neurologically impaired.
This required a paradigm shift in Marianne's life. Children with mental impairments need structure above all else. No more running around the country performing. Mariden and her daily life became the primary focus.
During the ensuing years, Marianne worked as a realtor, a cook, a consultant, a volleyball coach, a Course in Miracles teacher, a carpool mom and, occasionally, an actor when she could find work in and around New York. Finally, giving up show business altogether, she remarried and moved to Florida, becoming a graduate student and religion scholar, and earning all but thesis towards a masters in History of American Religious Thought, and masters degree in Social Work, .....and a nursing degree in her spare time!
In 2010, with Mariden grown and happy, she moved back to New York City to return to her career. It has been a challenge starting over once again, although not without rewards - she played the hilarious Aunt June in James Wesley's brilliant play UNBROKEN CIRCLE Off-Broadway, and she again proved her comic chops as Charlotte Hay in MOON OVER BUFFALO at Cape May Stage.
And she can be seen in the new web series LIVIN' THE DREAM as Dean Winters.
Marianne thanks all of you who have stood by and wished her well. She considers her journey to be one of lessons....in some cases presented again and again. But she remains grateful and happy to be back where she belongs.