She had been battling lung cancer since 1999. She was 71 and is remembered for being doggedly protective of her clients (director Harold Prince, among others) and their projects (including all of the Prince shows with Stephen Sondheim, and, in the last 10 years, shows produced by Livent, Inc.).
Mary Elizabeth Bryant was born Oct. 17, 1932, in Apopka, FL, to Theodore and Mabel Bryant. She graduated from the University of Miami where she studied drama.
Ms. Bryant began her career as an actress as a member of the Hedgerow Theatre, in Moylan, Pennsylvania. Upon a recommendation from director George Abbott (they first met when she was in college) she became apprentice to press agents Sol Jacobson and Lewis Harmon.
Ms. Bryant's first Broadway job was as the assistant press agent on George Abbott's Fiorello! in 1959, followed by Toys in the Attic, Tenderloin, Write Me a Murder, Take Her, She's Mine and The Aspern Papers. In 1962 she became a senior press agent opening her own office with Stephen Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, directed by Abbott (or "Mr. Abbott" as he was known). She went on to represent Mr. Abbott's productions of Never Too Late, Flora, The Red Menace, Anya and Music Is.
With Fiorello!, she began a career-long working relationship with director-producer Harold Prince. Ms. Bryant was the press agent for the original Broadway productions of the Harold Prince-Stephen Sondheim musicals Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along. She also represent director Prince's productions of She Loves Me, It's A Bird…It's a Plane…It’s Superman, Cabaret, Zorba, The Visit, Love for Love, On the Twentieth Century, Evita, A Doll's Life, End Of The World, Grind, Roza, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Show Boat and Candide.
In the last decade, since 1992, Ms. Bryant became the New York based publicist for Canadian impresario Garth Drabinsky's Livent, Inc., where she also represented Barrymore, Ragtime and Fosse. Some of the other 50 Broadway productions she represented include Side by Side by Sondheim, The Member of the Wedding, The Rules of the Game, Holiday, Chemin de Fer, All the Girls Came Out to Play, Abelard and Heloise, Grin and Bare It!, Postcards and Poor Bitos.
Ms. Bryant is survived by her mother, Mabel Decker. A private ceremony will be held in Miami.