Mary Spencer Knapp is a multi-instrumentalist, actor, composer, DIY filmmaker and educator based in Brooklyn. She is founder of Toot Sweet, a psychedelic cabaret soul band with whom she has released three full-length albums of original music. Mary is also founder of The Nightingale Fam, a children's music project with family classes in Brooklyn. She was an original cast member of Broadway's Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 which premiered in 2016 and has collaborated on theater projects with Obie-winning director Whitney White. A fan of the avant-garde, Mary is a regular contributor to Dr. William Schimmel's annual Accordion Seminars. In April 2022 Mary traveled to Santo Domingo, DR to launch a new experimental rock project Death Sneeze with friend, producer and drummer Lily Wen. On April 28 Mary, Lily and Dominican guitarist Isaac Hernandez recorded 12 new tracks at Vibrar Studios with engineer JV Olivier. Currently in post-production, the recording session will serve as the debut album for Death Sneeze. Release date TBA.
Mary has made several TV appearances including the role of Neve in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll on FX, a singer-accordionist role on Steve Buscemi's Park Bench series on AOL and with the cast of The Great Comet at the 71st Annual Tony Awards. She has toured South and Central America as accordionist and backing vocalist for Dominican singer Irka Mateo Y La Tirindanga and has performed extensively in New York City and the surrounding area with traditional Colombian dance band, Cumbia River Band.
Mary graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in voice and piano. The seed for her band, Toot Sweet, germinated with her second senior thesis concert, a cabaret show in which she arranged and performed early 20th century French and German repertoire for 8-piece ensemble with original monologues. Mary grew up in Princeton, New Jersey.