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					                                         Fifty years after graduating from Loretto         featured a solo, “Respectability,” that she
                                         Heights College, Mary Jo Catlett has seen a       would reprise in countless Broadway auditions
                                         prolific career that has exposed her to genera-   during her career. And while juggling
                                         tions of viewers, entertaining audiences from     academics and collegiate productions, she
                                         New York to Los Angeles through stage, film       worked at a nightclub her last two years as
                                         and television.                                   part of a local melodrama group. Her career
                                                                                           eventually brought her back to Denver for pro-
                                         You might recognize her voice as that of “Mrs.    ductions of Nunsense, Harvey and Auntie Mame
                                         Puff” on Sponge Bob Square Pants, or              at the historic Elitch Theater, and Something’s
                                         remember her as the housekeeper “Pearl            Afoot and a reprise of Nunsense at the Country
                                         Gallagher” on Diff’rent Strokes, “Mrs.            Dinner Playhouse.
                                         Applebaum” on That’s So Raven, or from her
                                         appearances on Glee, M*A*S*H, and General         Yet of all the roles she’s held, she cites her
                                         Hospital (for which she received an Emmy          favorite character experience as “Lola Delaney”
                                         nomination). Or maybe you saw her in feature      from Come Back Little Sheba, for which she
                                         films such as The Champ, Serial Mom, The          garnered a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award in
                                         Benchwarmers and Beethoven’s 5th. Or              1976. “This was the role of all roles for me,”
                                         perhaps you were lucky enough to see her on       she recalls. “I used every part of myself and all
                                         Broadway in Hello Dolly, where she originated     that I knew about acting. You get used to
                                         the role of “Ernestina” opposite Carol            playing certain roles over the course of your
                                         Channing’s “Dolly” in 1964.                       career, but Lola was different and complicated.
                                                                                           I put my whole self into her.”
                                          “I was cast as a chorus member,” Catlett
                                         remembers of her Broadway debut. “And a few       Her friends would tell you that she has
                                         weeks before opening night I got the role of      genuinely kept this sense of her whole self
                                         Ernestina.” Succeeding Broadway appearances       throughout her success, exemplifying the
                                         included such shows as Pajama Game,               Loretto motto, Fides, Mores, Cultura. She will
As an undergraduate student, Mary Jo     Canterbury Tales, and Lysistrata.                 tell you her career has been a wonderful
Catlett’s dance teacher told her she                                                       privilege. And all those she has entertained will
had the talent but lacked the            A native of Denver, Catlett attended Loretto      tell you that she has brought so much to so
                                         Heights College on a music scholarship.           many over the years.
toughness to get to Broadway, noting     Although she loved music, she ultimately
that she was “too soft” for the hard     changed her major to drama and the rest, quite    Mary Jo Catlett not only proved she had what it
knocks New York would surely give her.   literally, is history.                            takes to get to Broadway, she proved she
                                                                                           belonged there (and in every other major enter-
                                         She performed in LHC productions of Wonderful     tainment venue). More than that, she set the
Fortunately, Mary Jo didn’t listen.      Town, Finian’s Rainbow, Annie Get Your Gun        stage for how to do anything worth doing with
                                         and Boom Town, a Max DiJulio original which       grace, joy and passion.




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