She Never Gave Up Her Dream
Maryann Maisano is a walking inspiration for anyone who ever wanted to follow their life’s purpose.
A successful banker earning 6 figures, living a very comfortable life, she felt stifled by the corporate lifestyle.
What Maryann wanted to do was perform: sing, tell stories, be funny, and perhaps most important, make people happy.
And so, after being in the marketing and training end of banking, with a title of Vice President of a major institution, she decided to take the leap and invest her marketing and financial skills in herself, rather than her clients.
She formulated a strategic plan. It took time, nerves, (and probably some tears), but she began to build her presence as a performer and writer. She penned a song, “City of Light” which was embraced by the legendary actor, Danny Aiello (RIP Danny). He recorded it, and…. she garnered a GRAMMY nomination! It usually doesn’t happen like that. For the determined Maryann Maisano, it does.
She also created and produced live entertainment, bringing a variety act to audiences in the tri-state area and beyond,
The Italian Chicks was born; a show with a little storytelling, comedy and song to make for an evening of entertainment. That act has been making the circuit for a number of years.
Maryann also wrote and performed her one-woman play, that is chock full of storytelling and her glorious singing voice.
Most recently, Maisano entered into the world of film making, and turned that one-woman piece, titled “Agita” (the wonderful Italian word that is not quite translatable, but mainly means acid indigestion causing a general feeling of upset) into a film, and garnered Best Actress and Best Feature at the New Jersey Film Awards, as well as numerous other international accolades.
Following a forced pandemic break, Maryann’s new Italian Chicks Variety Show is back and touring the area. To kick off the fall season, do yourself a favor and head to the Hackensack Performing Arts Center Sept. 23 to see a new line-up of The Italian Chicks. Now, it does resonate deeply with Italian Americans, but you surely do not have to be of Italian heritage to thoroughly enjoy the show.
Valerie Smaldone is a 5-time Billboard Magazine Award winner and is well known for her unprecedented success holding the #1 on-air position in the New York radio market on 106.7 Life-FM, an iHeart station. She has hosted, produced, and created several award-winning nationally syndicated programs featuring in-depth interviews with stars like Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Mariah Carey among others. Her radio talk show "Bagels and Broadway" highlighted theatre and food personalities. She is an accomplished interviewer and voice artist heard on commercials, narrations, promos and audiobooks, as well as a sought after live announcer.
Most recently, Valerie produced and directed a film, The Thursday Night Club, featuring pop diva Gloria Gaynor in her movie acting debut. She is one of the creators and producers of a docu-series, Divine Renovation, starring Erik Estrada, on streaming networks soon.