It’s been a lovely and busy spring and summer with a bunch of developmental readings, auditions, call backs and an exciting Netflix shoot we can talk about in 2018! I was also lucky enough to remount Dead Shot Mary at the beautiful Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, NY in June. In other news, my theatre company Adjusted Realists received a wonderful NY Times write up about our production of Chickens in the Yard at Brooklyn’s JACK. I also have a short film in the works called Wheels Up (written by husband Robert K. Benson and bestie Duane Tollison, to be directed by Michael Swartz) that I will Executive Produce and appear in. So far the script has received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 Artists Alliance Short Screenplay Contest and we are still awaiting other competition results. Roll on autumn!
I was extremely honored to be invited to perform Dead Shot Mary for the Women Inspiring Women conference by Police Commissioner James O’Neill for International Women’s Day on Wednesday March 8th. It was a great day with phenomenal speakers including Gayle King and I was able to share Mary’s story with 800 women from the NYPD.
Professionally, 2016 was a great year with the success of Dead Shot Mary and lots of awesome callbacks. The year ended with this fun holiday video with yours truly as Mrs. Claus (check that off the bucket list!) from my friends at The Key of Awesome lauding all the awesome things about 2016 (despite everything else). Watch it here.
I kicked off the year with Lady Business, a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in The Green Room at New World Stages utilizing a reading of The Taming by Lauren Gunderson and featuring live music by the fabulous Jenson Smith. We were able to raise nearly $900 for the cause and I got to work with wonderful director Illana Stein and fellow fantastic cast mates Deanna McGovern, Nike Kadri and Monica Jones. See photos below. Here’s to trying to make the world a better place through art in 2017!
We are half way through are incredible run of Dead Shot Mary! We have had some glowing reviews and sold out houses.
Read our fantastic feature in THE NEW YORK TIMES here.
Read a lovely article in my home town newspaper, The Racine Journal Times here.
“Rachel McPhee gives a remarkable and transcendent performance as Mary Shanley, completely embodying the brash and no-frills gutsy woman who defied the norm to become one of the most famous female law enforcement employees. McPhee was born to play this role; she holds nothing back, she is bare and honest and completely captivating to watch. A wonderful actress with superior control and ownership of her stage, she tenderly brings to the forefront a real insight into Shanley’s upbringing and childhood hardships, and what it was like to be a strong, rough-around-the-edges, brave woman in the 1930’s.The script, written by Robert K. Benson, is both thoughtful and relevant.”- Stage Buddy, full review here.
“The ebb and flow of Detective Shanley’s emotional crisis is well rendered in the imaginative script by Robert Benson, and commendably delivered in a very skilled performance by veteran actor Rachel McPhee. The theater is small and cramped, but this hardly distracts from a profoundly absorbing and stimulating experience. I highly recommend Dead Shot Mary, particularly for those capable of grappling with some of life’s harshest realities.” – Plays to See, full review here.
” While the play feels unstructured at first, the story slowly knits together until we find ourselves waiting with bated breath to find out how it ends.That effect is the result of an extraordinary performance by Rachel McPhee, whose remarkable vulnerability onstage excuses every one of Mary’s imperfections. At first in her recital, Mary exhibits some defensiveness about why she wanted to be a cop, citing better wages and other flippant excuses, but that quickly peels away as we learn how she came to be the way she is. And while there are a few segments about her childhood, the play resists the impulse to explain away why Mary became Mary with some sort of clever anecdote.”- Chargedfm.com, full review here.
“Dead Shot Mary is a special show. When you find an actress who can embody the real person, it’s as if you’ve struck gold. Rachel McPhee was that. McPhee captured the essence of the women with a tough exterior but a heart of gold.”- Theater in the Now, full review here. Interview here.
“Attention Acting Aficionados: Hie yourselves to The Bridge Theatre at Shetler Studios to see ‘Dead Shot Mary.’ Rachel McPhee’s bravura performance as Mary is not to be missed…The innovative play was written by Robert K. Benson; the skillful director is Stephen Kaliski.”- Theater Pizazz, full review here.
“The playwright has done a splendid job of capturing her life, and Ms. McPhee’s performance is spot-on, including the perfectly intoned New York City working class speech patterns and rhythms she uses. Under Stephen Kaliski’s direction, she is constantly in motion, taking us with her as she reenacts some of her exploits…All of the elements come together to paint a perfect portrait of this ordinary and yet remarkable woman.” – Talkin’ Broadway, full review here.
“The captivating and must-see life story of a New York hero you’ve never heard of…Performed with finespun gusto by Rachel McPhee… McPhee’s performance is so delightful minor faults are easy to forgive…Kaliski makes wonderful use of the stage and of Kyu Shin’s set design…’Dead Shot Mary’ is a must-see for history buffs and gender studies experts alike.” – Theatre is Easy (Best Bet), full review here.
“Rachel McPhee delivers a captivating and heartfelt performance.”- Thearescene.net, full review here.
So incredibly excited about Dead Shot Mary , based on the phenomenal true story of Mary Shanley one of the first women to make first grade detective in the NYPD during the 1930s! The solo show written by Robert K. Benson and directed by Stephen Kaliski will be returning to the NYC stage this fall, running September 9th- October 15th at The Bridge Theatre. Purchase tickets here and check out the snazzy Dead Shot Mary Website while you are at it. Watch the teaser below, too!
I also just got done filming a scene for a great new series in development written by and starring one of my talented besties, Jenson Smith. I also had the extreme pleasure of working with the hilarious Quincy Dunn Baker and the legendary Carolyn Mignini.
Winter has been busy with lots of auditions and some exciting “in the mix ” moments for various high profile TV and Film projects. Also, involved in shooting 4 more scenes for Nick & Nicky where I play sour puss Barbara. My episode of the fun Real Mommy Confessions aired, watch it here. And my episode of Momsters on ID Discovery was also on the airwaves, click here to view. Next week I will be performing in a reading of We Will Rise by Lori Mannette.
It has been a busy fall! With tons of auditions, making plans for the next steps for Undercover: The Mary Shanley Story and featuring on a few forthcoming episodes of 2 different web series and a role in a short film. I also was lucky enough to reprise the role of “Adele” in a fantastic parody of “Hello” made by my friends at Barely Productions. Click here to check out the video and watch the hilarious Behind the Scenes video here. Billboard also listed this as one of the top 5 “Hello” Parodies, read the full article here. Next week I’ll be reading a role in a fabulous new play written by Morgan Gould as part of the Target Margin Institute for Collaborative Theater Making. And just for funsies, here is a picture of me on set as Adele.
I performed my solo show at Under St. Marks August 6, 7, 8 to sold out houses, high acclaim, and resounding positive feedback. Friends and colleagues seemed adamant that Mary’s story is one that needs to be told. We definitely plan to bring the show back for a longer run in NYC and also hopefully do some touring. A few pictures are below. To find out more about the production and the people involved, click here. Stay tuned for more photos and video clips coming soon! Photos by Isaiah Tanenbaum.
I also filmed a tiny but fun role in Future ’38 a feature length indie film starring Betty Gilpin and Nick Westrate. I also had the extreme pleasure of meeting and working with the legendary Madison Arnold, pictured below.
In late June I also starred rehearsing my one woman show, Undercover: The Mary Shanley Story– for more info about that please click here.