Actress and operatic soprano Patricia Neway, who won a Tony Award for creating the role of Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music on Broadway, died of natural causes in Corinth, Vermont on January 24. She was 92 years old.
Born in Brooklyn in 1919, Neway earned a degree in mathematics from Staten Island’s Notre Dame College before going on to attend Mannes College of Music for a degree in vocal performance. In 1941, while still a student, she made her Broadway debut in the chorus of Jacques Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne.
Neway's Broadway credits included The Consul, The Rape of Lucretia and Gian Carlo Menotti's Maria Golovin, one of the few operas composed specifically for the theater. She worked more extensively in the opera, singing at such houses and festivals as Opéra-Comique in Paris, Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy and the San Francisco Opera. Closer to home, she sang in many productions at the New York City Opera, including Calleria rusticana, Wozzeck, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Wuthering Heights, The Turn of the Screw and Salome, as well as the world premieres of The Dybbuk and Six Characters in Search of an Author, starring Beverly Sills.
Neway made her screen debut in an adaptation of The Consul. Among her other film roles are Nettie Fowler in an adaptation of Carousel, starring Robert Goulet, and La Madrecita in a 1966 television production of Tennessee Williams' 10 Blocks on the Camino Real, opposite Lotte Lenya, Martin Sheen, and Tom Aldredge.