101 Stories: Mary Tensing and Tracy Walker

By The Children's Theatre

Celebrate TCT’s 101st season as it comes to a close as we applaud and appreciate those who contributed to the organization’s magic throughout our century-long journey.  During 10 weeks of recognition, we honor individuals who have been instrumental in the success of TCT, and who have not only helped TCT grow in mission, but also thrive, thanks to their passion.  It is these people and their moments in our history that shaped TCT to become what it is today. We encourage you to consider giving a gift in their honor to ensure the sustainability of TCT’s mission for the next 100+ years. 

In 2019, TCT brought a historic 45-minute musical performance of SUFFRAGETTES: WITH LIBERTY AND VOTING FOR ALL to life to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the United States – the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote. The production was written and directed by local playwright, Mary Tensing, with music by the renowned singer-songwriter, Tracy Walker. Both artists have been involved with TCT both backstage and onstage for a long time.

About Tracy: For over two decades Tracy Walker has been at the forefront of Cincinnati’s independent music scene. Walker’s style sits at the crossroads of Folk, Rock, Country, Jazz and Blues. Tracy has opened for the legendary artists Joe Cocker and Patti LaBelle, and also shared the stage with Melissa Ferrick, Sally Taylor, Blessid Union of Souls, Jerry Butler, Tom Paxton, Antigone Rising, O.A.R., Pamela Means, Holly Near, Alix Olson, Hot Buttered Rum, Mitch Ryder and many others. Tracy has also been able to stretch her talents in yet another direction. Her interest in theater has been played out in shows with the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati and Queen City Off-Broadway productions. Walker possesses a soaring alto demanding of attention. She has won two Cincinnati Entertainment Awards and two CAMMY Awards for music. She was voted Best Local Musician in CityBeat’s Best Of Cincinnati readers’ poll. Walker has contributed her talent and time to many fund-raising efforts. One of the most important honors acknowledging Tracy’s talent and work is the Taft Duncanson Artist in Residency. Tracy was on the judging panel for the National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences Demo Review Panel. She is a mentor for the Songwriter’s Summit for Oneness. She has also worked with youth through The True Body Project, Artworks, BOYAC, and ArtSafe. Tracy performs extensively in the Greater Cincinnati region and across the country. Tracy has developed a well-deserved reputation as a fierce performer both solo and with her band.

Tracy said: “I am always looking for ways to be involved in creative projects. So, when Jack Louiso approached me to be a part of The Children’s Theatre production of Charlotte’s Web, I answered with a resounding yes! I love live performance. Acting on the stage, you can just feel the energy and engagement from the audience. It is a reciprocal activity. The personal engagement allows for each child to individually connect to the performance from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. Though it is theatre for young audiences, it engages and impacts all ages – and that is what I love about The Children’s Theatre.” 

About Mary: Mary is a playwright, actor and director.  Past productions she and David Kisor have teamed up to create for The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati include: The Rockin’ Adventures of Peter Rabbit, Frosty: A Magical Adventure, and Hansel and Gretel  She’s was also commissioned to write, Thanksgiving Eve, Androcles and the Lion (music and lyrics by Deondra Kamau Means)and Rapunzel.  For ArtReach: A Division of The Children’s Theatre, she’s written: The Gift of the MagiThe Satchel Paige Story, Breakin’ Down the Bard: An Introduction to Shakespeare, Levi Coffin: An Abolitionist’s Life, A Christmas Carol, Sleeping Beauty, The Rosa Parks Story, The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, An Algonquin Cinderella, Coretta Scott King and the Fight for Freedom, Anne Frank, and Harriet Tubman and the Train to Freedom.  Her other plays include:  Ice Floe (The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, and Ohio State University at Newark), The Annie Glenn Story (Muskingum College), Tales of the Baba Yaga, and Placing Out (The School for the Creative and Performing Arts).  Her pieces Sucking the Marrow and Us Chickens have been produced by The Contemporary American Theatre Company in Columbus as part of their Shorts festivals.  Mary is a graduate of The School for Creative and Performing Arts, and Northwestern University.

Mary said: “I began working at The Children’s Theatre as an actress. Later, I was asked to write some shows for them, which led to me also directing some shows. Through my time at The Children’s Theatre, I wrote seven MainStage shows and twelve touring shows, I directed eight shows, and I acted in about fifteen shows. I loved being able to collaborate with so many fantastic artists and designers throughout my time working with TCT. On the other side of things, I have also been able to attend shows with the schools. I love being able to not just feel the kid’s excitement in the crowd, but also going back to school with them and seeing them recreating scenes from the shows they just saw during their recess time. The theatre ignites a child’s imagination and captures their attention in ways that no other art form does.” 

Would you honor Mary Tensing and Tracy Walker with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?

From Mary Tensing and Tracy Walker’s 2019 TCT production of SUFFRAGETTES: WITH LIBERY AND VOTING FOR ALL

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