About Mary

Musical theatre voice teacher, actress and cabaret performer

One of America's Top Voice Instructors

Mary Saunders is a Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a Masters degree from Middlebury College and the Sorbonne, Paris. While in Paris, she studied with Pierre Bernac and received a diploma from the Ecole Normale de Musique.

She is currently Professor of Voice at Penn State University where she serves as Head of Voice Instruction for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater and Program Head for the MFA in Vocal Pedagogy for Musical Theatre.

Veteran Performer and Teacher of current and future Broadway Professionals

Previously she was on the BFA Musical Theater faculty at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. Mary's performing career includes Broadway, off-Broadway, regional, film and television credits. Her first one-woman show, Stop, Time played to sell-out houses in New York City. In addition to her university teaching, Mary maintains a studio in Manhattan for professional performers.

In this and recent seasons her students have been seen on Broadway in:

Wicked, Hairspray, Follies, Rent, Mamma Mia, Lion King, The 29th Annual Putnam Valley Spelling Bee, Gypsy, In The Heights, A Tale of Two Cities, Hair, West Side Story, How To Succeed In Business, Beautiful, Book Of Mormon, Newsies, Pippin, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Kinky Boots, among others.

International Presenter

Mary is frequently invited to present her workshop seminar Bel Canto Can Belto for convocations of singers and teachers of singing in the U.S. and Europe. She has presented workshops and master classes for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the National Opera Association (NOA), the Voice Foundation Symposium and for musical theatre programs at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. She has been on the voice faculty of the Intermezzo Young Artists program in Bruges, Belgium and was a presenter at the international Congress “Broadway und der Ruhr” in Dortmund, Germany. Mary was the keynote musical theatre speaker at the 2013 International Congress of Voice Teachers in Brisbane, Australia. Recently, she was a master teacher for the 2014 NATS Intern Program at Ohio State University.

Every other summer Mary and her musical theatre colleagues at Penn State offer a workshop entitled Bel Canto/Can Belto: Learning to Teach and Sing for Musical Theater on the University Park campus. Her DVD tutorial Bel Canto/Can Belto: Teaching Women to Sing Musical Theater, was released in 2007. A companion DVD, What About the Boys? was completed in 2014 and is now available on this site.

In 2009, Mary was inducted into the American Academy of Teachers of Singing in New York City.