Ever since she was a young woman, MaryAnn Mallozzi has had a love affair with the performing arts, acting in dozens of productions as well as volunteering for countless more. As the years past, whether she is doing work on stage or off, Mallozzi says that she has seen how much people truly enjoy local community theater.
“Whether it is the actors or the audience, people really have a genuine love for theater and it takes many volunteers to make a show a success,” she said.
Currently, the retired elementary school teacher from Queens is working on two productions simultaneously, taking on a role as a golden ticket winner’s mother in "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" at the Yorktown Stage, and producing "Little Shop of Horrors" for the Actors Conservatory Theater in Yonkers.
All of her participation in these local theater groups is voluntary, and despite the long hours she and the rest of the actors put in, Mallozzi believes it is all worth it in the end.
“Acting to me is the absolute best and while I don’t mind the behind-the-scenes work that makes a show great, too, performing is such a passion of mine,” she said.
Having moved to the Wykagyl section of New Rochelle in 1990, she quickly became involved in local theater in New Rochelle, acting and doing production for both the New Rochelle Civic Theater and the Immaculate Conception Players.
Over time, both of these theater groups came together to form the New Rochelle Theater Works, an adult performing arts group that put on many local theater productions for the New Rochelle area until the late 1990s when they no longer could find the space they needed to hold rehearsals and put on shows.
As a fourth-grade teacher for much of her career in Queens, Mallozzi saw a golden opportunity to bring her love of theater into the classroom.
“Every year I told the students the same thing on the first day of class,” recalled Mallozzi. “If any of you have any talent at all that you want to share, then I guarantee you will be on a stage in a full production by the end of the school year.”
True to her word, Mallozzi found herself producing and directing many school plays and productions, giving her students a chance in the spotlight and an experience that, without her efforts, they may never have gotten at such a young age.
“I really do have a love of teaching, a love of theater and a love of kids and sometimes they all come together as one,” she added.
Aside from her work in New Rochelle, Mallozzi has certainly helped community theaters across Westchester and even New York City remain vibrant places where both actors can share their talents and members of the community can partake in the arts.
“Community theaters need volunteers from simply the actors that are needed to fill the roles, to things like props, house manager, producer, lights, sound, usher, just to name a few,” Mallozzi said.