|Intro||American singer and actress|
|A.K.A.||Mary Jorie Millben|
|Education||University of Oklahoma|
Mary Millben (born Mary Jorie Millben March 4, 1982) is an American singer and actress. Millben is a 2010 Helen Hayes Award Nominee, has performed in theatre across the country and been a featured soloist at the White House, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Major League Baseball, Off-Broadway, and headlined solo concerts at popular New York venues including Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, The City Winery and The Cutting Room. She has been a featured soloist for dinners and events hosting President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, Her Royal Highness Princess Basmah Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz, Oprah Winfrey, Canadian business magnate Jim Pattison to name a few.
Early life and education
Millben was born and grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is the daughter of Rev. Michael Millben, a Baptist and Pentecostal minister. Her mother, Rev. Althea Millben is a classically-trained soprano and a retired Pentecostal music pastor.
Millben started singing at the age of five in the children’s choir at Wildewood Christian Church in Oklahoma City. Her parents divorced in 1987 and Millben was raised by her mother.
Millben attended Putnam City High School. She was a presidential candidate at the 1999 American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation and Oklahoma Girls State conferences, and the Oklahoma delegate at the 1998 Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) World Congress in Washington, D.C. Millben received the State of Oklahoma Commemoration Award for excellence and achievement in leadership as a student leader in 1999.
Millben studied opera at the University of Oklahoma (OU) under tenor Don Bernardini. She performed in OU student productions; she was a member of the ensemble in Guys & Dolls and Good News in 2002, played the role of Mama Maddelena in Nine, Chanteuse in Cabaret, and Josephine Strong in Urinetown. In 2002, she also edited and co-authored the OU Press book What Possibilities, a Guide to Opportunities and Traditions, detailing the history and traditions of the University of Oklahoma.
At OU, Millben was elected the second African-American female Student Body President in 2004 and the first African-American female Vice-President in 2003. She was one of four who represented the University at the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement at Harvard University in 2004 and, appointed by U.S. Congressman Tom Cole, was an Oklahoma delegate to the 2006 African American Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. - a national conference organized to bring together government leaders and prominent African Americans around the country to discuss policy, strengthen collective efforts and expand leadership roles for African Americans in the American politics.
Millben received her BFA, in Musical Theatre Performance, with a minor in Political Science in 2006. She then participated in the University's Journey to China Summer Program, studying Mandarin and Chinese culture at Xi'an International Studies University, Yunnan University in Kunming, Peking University in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai.
In 2005, Millben worked as a summer White House intern for President George W. Bush and as a White House presidential appointee for President George W. Bush from September 2006 to January 2009.
In 2008-2009, Millben took part in local community theatre in the Washington Metropolitan area, playing the lead role of Patience in Patience with the Georgetown University Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Kate in Pirates of Penzance with the Washington Savoyards and Rosemary in The Eccentricities of a Nightingale with American Century Theater.
She was a background vocalist in the Barbra Streisand tribute at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors and a soloist in the 2008 National Symphony Orchestra Pops conducted by the late Marvin Hamlisch. Millben was invited by former First Lady Laura Bush as a guest soloist for the 2008-2009 White House Holiday Season.
In 2009, Millben left the government and accepted the role of Wanda in an equity show, Crowns, at Arena Stage. The show premiered at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington D.C. April 2009. Beginning fall 2009, Millben performed the role of Dee in the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences six-month tour of Chasing George Washington, written by playwright Karen Zacharias.
Millben was a guest soloist, with Grammy Award winner Tramaine Hawkins, for the inauguration of The Honorable Barbara Lee (D-California) at the Congressional Black Caucus ceremonial swearing-in at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C., a back-up singer for Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce in the 2009 “We are One” Obama Lincoln Memorial inaugural concert, and backup singer for the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show with Bruce Springsteen. In 2010, she was the featured soloist during the National Advancement of Colored People National Board of Directors installation swearing-in of Chairwoman Roslyn M. Brock at Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.
In 2010, Millben was hired as an understudy and went on to co-star in Sophisticated Ladies with Arena Stage at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington D.C. Millben performed alongside Bill Cosby at the 2010 Best of Black Business Awards ceremony. She starred as Sister Pauletta Denise Jones in the Washington D.C. 2010 premiere of a new musical, Sanctified. A review in the Washington Examiner praised her strong soprano voice.
In 2011-2012, Millben was the soloist for the 102nd NAACP National Convention in Los Angeles, California, and at the Fame-Wall/Actor’s Fund New York fundraiser. In December 2011, she sang for the White House Holiday Season as a featured soloist. In 2012, she was a guest soloist for the 2012 Theatre World Awards reception, and a featured soloist for President Barack Obama and campaign supporters at a private campaign event held in McLean, VA.
In March 2012, she made her New York theatre debut at the Westchester Broadway Theatre starring as Nina Mae McKinney in Ray Roderick’s Gershwin musical ‘S Wonderful. That summer Millben completed her first demo recording titled, “Introducing Mary Millben.” She was the featured soloist for President Barack Obama at the George Mason University rally in Fairfax, Virginia on Oct. 5th, 2012.
Millben was the headliner for the 2013 Copacabana ‘Broadway Royale’ New Year’s Eve Show in New York. She was the keynote speaker at the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women conference that year. In 2013, Millben headlined a solo concert for Europe’s celebration of Black History Month in Zagreb, Croatia hosted by Kenneth H. Merten, former U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, and the U.S. Embassy Zagreb at the VIP Club.
As part of the Shenson Chamber Music Concert Series, Millben headlined a sold-out, solo concert in tribute to late mentor Marvin Hamlisch at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 2014.
Millben was the featured artist for the 20th Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide hosted by Her Excellency Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana and the Embassy of Rwanda on April 7, 2014 at The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. Millben was also the featured soloist for The Links, Incorporated 39th National Assembly at The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor.
April 2016, Mary was the featured entertainment and debuted her new original song "Dream Big" at the 2016 US Olympic Announcement Ceremony for USA Team Fencing in preparation for the Rio Olympics. Millben was accompanied by The Joyce Garrett Singers - the annual choir for the Kennedy Center Honors, Super Bowl Halftime Show and Christmas In Washington Special on TNT. Millben was also the featured entertainment at the Black Women's Agenda Conference held at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. on September 16, 2016.
Millben was the featured entertainment for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Opening grand opening dinner for six-figure donors on September 24, 2016 in Washington, D.C. - accompanied by The Joyce Garrett Singers.
Millben has had the honor to perform for the 43rd President, the 44th President and for the 58th Presidential Inauguration Victory Celebration of the 45th President of the United States of America - President Donald J. Trump.
Millben honored during the 2012 National Women’s History Month at the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Brooklyn, New York for her contributions to the advancement of women and minority enterprises in the State of New York.
Millben has two sisters and one brother. Millben is engaged to Johnny L. President, a U.S. Navy veteran and member of U.S. Intelligence community.