Kevin Ray Johnson
I would like you to meet Maria Egler. Maria is fresh off of performing in Ford’s Theatre production of Into the Woods and will be seen next in Blackbeard, a world premiere commissioned by Signature Theatre which begins performances on June 18th where she’ll be playing the role(s) of La Mer/Morgan. A true DC Theatre scene veteran Ms. Egler studied at The Catholic University of America and has left her mark in Washington DC performing for companies such as The Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, Signature Theatre, Studio Theatre, and Olney Theatre Center. I am happy to have had the chance to interview Maria!
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a performer?
I did not grow up performing - I never took dance classes, and singing was just something we did in the car. When I got to high school, I thought the Spring musical looked like fun, and I auditioned for “The Secret Garden.” I was cast as Martha, and that was it, I was hooked. I loved everything about theatre. However, I never thought that it was something I could pursue seriously as a career option. It wasn’t until my junior year when the college search began that I thought about studying theatre and becoming an actor. My parents, who just happen to be the most supportive and wonderful people in the world, encouraged me to pursue acting and helped me every step of the way. I am so incredibly lucky that I had them in my corner and to this day they are still my biggest fans.
Where did you study? Are there any mentors that truly helped make you the performer you are today?
I studied at The Catholic University of America, and I chose that program specifically because I wanted a Music Degree. Jane Pesci-Townsend was a huge influence while I was at CUA, as was Tom Pedersen, who was my voice teacher.
Congratulations on Blackbeard at Signature Theatre! I always have admired Signature's mission to present new works. What excites you most about this new musical?
Working on Blackbeard has been an absolute dream. The entire creative team is working non-stop to bring this adventure to the stage. John Dempsey and Dana P. Rowe have been writing new music, lyrics, and text every single night and sometimes on the fly in the room! David Holcenberg is music directing with one hand while he scores the show with the other. Eric Schaeffer (director) and Matt Gardiner (choreographer) are an amazing team, and they have the innate ability to look at the piece and dissect it to see what is working and what needs a change. The most exciting thing about the process is the fact that everyone is so collaborative and so committed to making it the best piece it can be. The creative energy in the room is truly astounding!
Are there any shows that you have done in your career that will always be near and dear to your heart?
The show that really defined why I do what I do and why I love what I do was “Sunday in the Park with George” at Signature. It was one of those rare shows where everything just clicks - the show itself, the cast, the time in my life - everything was just perfect.
What advice would you give young performers who want a career in this business?
While I love my career, I will be the first to admit that it is not an easy life. But if you love it, and it is what you truly want to do, then there is no greater reward. My advice would be to keep learning. Whether that be getting into a class, reading new works, studying old works, understanding a new technical aspect of theatre, taking voice lessons. Do it all. It will help you become a more well-rounded and adaptable performer. And also be kind... Always be kind.
To learn more about Maria’s upcoming show Blackbeard, please make sure you visit – www.sigtheatre.org