On the Couch with Maria Mercedes

Maria Mercedes_photo by Ros O'Gorman oncWho is Maria Mercedes?
An Australian performer of Greek heritage. A singer, actor, songwriter, a  pescatarian, and an animal lover. Who is inspired by the truth & honesty of children, who also champions – environmental campaigns, animal rights and a fair go for anyone’s who underprivileged and for refugees. A lover of films, music, books and walks in the countryside. A lover of Buddha, Jesus, Allah, Ganesh, Aphrodite…..and a practitioner of meditation, yoga & positive affirmations!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would be less angst and more relaxed about perfection in all areas of my life. I would never had allowed them (My manager & producer) to change my name from Maria Moutsidis to Maria Mercedes…..40 years ago.

Who inspires you and why?
My parents  – George & Dionisia for their courage in leaving their homeland, travelling by ship and starting a brand new life in Australia – where the culture….the customs & the language was as foreign as they were foreigners….so as they could make a life for themselves and give their children all the opportunities to make their ambitions and dreams are reality.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Travel to destinations, either in OZ or OS and give my time & energy as volunteer, to help people in crisis due to either poverty, natural disasters or war. Or volunteer in animal reserves, helping protect endangered species.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere, where there is a clean, beautiful beach, and dolphins. Monkey Mia, Western Australia. Or NYC!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Luna Park – St. Kilda….and then hit the cakes shops on Acland Street.

What are you currently reading?
Jesus Lived In India

What are you currently listening to?
Janelle Monae – extraordinary American recording artist.

Happiness is?
Driving along a coastal road with my 2 dogs,  Jack & Ziggy.

What does the future hold for you?
Who Knows, but great health, peace in my heart and family & friends in my life. Lots of laughter – with a song or two from me!

Maria Mercedes has established herself as one of Australia’s leading ladies with a voice that pours straight from the soul, a powerful stage presence and dramatic talent, that is matched only by her exhaustive body of work.

Her career as an actress / singer has now spanned over 30 years, encompassing television, film, cabaret, concerts, recordings, stage and her big love….music theatre.

Starring roles include Grizabella in Cats, Svetlana in Chess, Mama Morton in Chicago, Miss Sherman in Fame and Luisa Contini in Nine. Maria received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, and recently as Madam Giry in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom Of The Opera….Love Never Dies.

Maria has also performed in Forbidden Broadway, The World Goes Round, Zorba the Greek, Gypsy, The Vagina Monologues, Shadow & Splendour and Seriously – Pet Shop Boys Reinterpreted, and was the first woman in the world to play Frankenfurter in The Rocky Horror Show.

Her film credits include Dreams for Life (2005), Head On (1998) and Patrick (1978). Lead roles in major Australian television productions include Homicide, Division 4, Cop Shop, Patrol Boat, Prisoner, Neighbours and Greeks on the Roof. Maria was recently seen in the SBS series Kick, and as Madam Breda in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries for the ABC.

Maria will be featured in the upcoming performance of The Songs of James Bond at Melbourne’s The Athenaeum Theatre in November 2013. For more information, visit: www.thesongsofjamesbond.com.au for details.

Image: Maria Mercedes – photo by Ros O’Gorman