Mariann Mayberry, the Chicago-based actor who appeared in acclaimed Broadway productions of August: Osage County and Metamorphoses, lost her battle with cancer August 1 at age 52.
She was a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre acting ensemble, which has canceled its August 1 performance of Hir in her memory. She appeared in 25 of the company‘s productions in a career that began in 1989.
All three of her Broadway appearances were in productions that originated in Chicago. She made her Broadway debut in the 2001 Steppenwolf revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, playing Candi Starr. She returned in Mary Zimmerman’s 2002 Lookingglass Theatre adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, playing Eurydice, the woman Orpheus travels to the Underworld to bring back to life. Mayberry created the role of Karen Weston in the 2007 original Steppenwolf production of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer- and Tony-winning drama August: Osage County, and transferred to Broadway in the role.
Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro issued the following statement: “Mariann was our girl. Funny, strong, unbelievably hard working, with a quick smile that belied a complex and beautiful interior life, she was at the center of who this company is and has always been. It is impossible to imagine our theatre—or this astonishingly cruel world—without her. We are devastated.”
Born to a working-class family in rural Missouri, Mayberry drew on that experience for her 2012 performance in David Lindsay-Abaire’s drama Good People, which won her a Joseph Jefferson Award as Best Actress in a Principal Role. She was also nominated for Jefferson Awards for her performances in Time of My Life and for Hysteria, in which she was directed by John Malkovich.
In addition to her work as a member of Steppenwolf, she appeared in Chicago-area productions at the Lookingglass Theatre (where Metamorphoses originated), the Goodman Theatre (including The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci), and Northlight Theatre (How I Learned to Drive). She also worked on TV, appearing in both Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order Criminal Intent.
She was married to actor Scott Jaeck, who also appeared in August: Osage County.