A Tribute to the First Lady of Atlanta’s Theatre, Mary Nell Santacroce

Mary Nell Santacroce, was the driving force behind DramaTech, as far back as 1948.  I believe the present Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech had its roots in the work of Mary Nell Santacroce at DramaTech.

Below is an oral history by Mary Nell Santacroce for a local interviewer, for any who are interested. (I was fortunate to have seen her perform both as “Miss Daisy” in “Driving Miss Daisy” and as the Dowager Empress in the play “Anastasia” in the Theatre-On-The-Square in Marietta, Georgia in the 1990s.  I had purchased a front row, center seat in that Marietta Theatre. I remember thinking I was in the presence of a great actress. It seemed she looked straight at me at times, as she performed.)  Director John Huston had called Mary Nell Santacroce, of Atlanta and Georgia Tech, one of the 3 or 4 great actresses in the world.


Georgia Tech has had an outstanding theatre program in its past.  One of Georgia Tech’s theatre directors, for 17 years, was Atlanta actress and director Mary Nell  Santacroce, who has also been called Atlanta’s First Lady of Theatre.  Her husband, Dante Santacroce, an architect by trade, had been a Georgia Tech student and had also acted at DramaTech.  He and Mary Nell Santacroce formed The Underground Theatre, a community theatre in Atlanta. (Link:http://www.atlantaintownpaper.com/2013/10/underground-theatre-close-44th-season/)

Mary Nell Santacroce, who had played Miss Daisy in “Driving Miss Daisy” at the Alliance Theatre before she died in 1999, had also played a supporting role in Hollywood director John Huston’s, film, “Wise Blood,” from a book by Georgia’s writer, Flannery O’Conner.  Mary Nell Santacroce is the mother of the outstanding Broadway and film actress, Dana Ivey.

(Originally posted on “Get Schooled” blog of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on November 13, 2014 by MaryElizabethSings)
This entry was posted in Dana Ivey, Dante Santacroce, DramaTech, Mary Nell Santacroce. Bookmark the permalink.

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