Rooted in the Nova Scotian tradition of loving a good story, Mary finds finds life stories endlessly fascinating - inspiring and exhausting, beautiful and ugly, hilarious and terrifying, often all at the same time! Sharing stories as a singer, actor, writer, teacher - from open mics to concert stages, from book musicals to alternative plays, from solo gigs to Broadway (ok, off-Broadway), her aim is the same - to express the spirit of life’s truth, if not always its facts!
Folk Cabaret seems to describe ‘what she sings’. Her wide ranging repertoire includes traditional folk, jazz, musical theater, singer songwriter - she’s been inspired by Joni Mitchell, George Gershwin, Clary Croft, Sophie Tucker, Susan Werner, James Keelaghan, Leonard Cohen, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Annie Ross, Barbara Cook, Barbara Streisand and the Muppets.
She is a recurring character in Schitt’s Creek; and has appeared in The Handmaid’s Tale, Orphan Black; In the Dark; Hot Zone; Saving Hope and Reign. Onstage she made her New York theatrical debut originating the role of Mother in Living With Henry. She has appeared in plays and musicals across Canada, was a featured soloist with Symphony Nova Scotia performing folk music that had been collected by Dr. Helen Creighton and was assistant director for the Papal Visit Choir in Halifax, NS.
“Mary is a significant artist: one of those rare people who combine the ability to deliver a song with incredible skill and equally incredible emotion.”
— Paul Mills
“Mary Kelly is a vibrant soul. When she sings her voice, wisdom, and heart lace inseparably together, and I believe her. I hear her sing and I believe her like she's singing something I've known all along.”
— Andre Harden
“Mary is a natural storyteller whose Maritime roots embrace the audience from the start. Her voice is rich, complex, and easily navigates a variety of music with impressive skill all while connecting us to the text in a very intimate way. It is always a treat.”
— Dayna Tekatch, Resident Director/Come From Away (Toronto production)
“. . . a very expressive storyteller . . . she takes the listener to the place and people she’s singing about . . . I consider Mary to be one of the finest singers I’ve ever heard.”
— Rick Fielding
“Coming from Nova Scotia Mary was thrilled to find a rich, vibrant folk music community in Toronto, one which she says was “full of talent, big generous personalities and magical stories”. That’s actually a pretty good description of Mary herself, a bubbly outgoing personality and a voice to die for Mary is from a long line of storytellers and believes no story is too big or too fantastic if it’s told with grace and wit. A song interpreter of great depth and subtlety Mary’s repertoires ranges from tradition to modern classic and hymns, all of the chosen because they mean something special to her and, as she so beautifully puts it, “express the spirit of life’s truth, if not always its facts.”
— Heather Fielding, Acoustic Harvest
“Mary . . . has a precious voice, a great sense of song and a charming wit”
— Holmes Hook
“What a Wonderful, Fabulous, Terrific evening, in such a Beautiful venue. 100% quality presentation. The piano player wasn't too bad either ?. What a song by Keelaghan (sic) & many others that were just over the top. What a voice, my god ....& The best sound. So, just wanted to say thanks for such a really Great evening. It was a sure a home run. ”
— Audience member, September 22, 2018
“Beautiful venue, terrific crystal clear powerful warm voice, amazing grand piano player ...lots of humour. 10/10.”
— Audience Member, September 22, 2018
“Mary's voice whispered and soared and dazzled the appreciative audience, while John amazed us with his virtuosity and charm. The two of them were perfect together.”
— Audience Member, September 22, 2018