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Follies Spotlight: Mary Kate Pedro as Genie3 min read

How did your career in entertainment begin and how have your goals evolved over the years?

My first job after college was as a production assistant on Grown Ups 2 where my date to the wrap party accidentally pushed Adam Sandler, so my career could really only go up from there. An early boss of mine discovered that I could understand the financial side of the film’s purchases (aka play with Excel), and so I worked as a production accountant from then on for almost 8 years before coming to Stern. I’ve tried to spend my MBA building my strategic tool kit as well as learning more about the entertainment industry outside of production, so I’ve had internships in business development for a small production company led by a Stern alum and in streaming operations on the Paramount+ team for ViacomCBS. It’s been a crazy ride and I keep moving the goalpost on myself.

What brought you to Stern, and how do you plan on using your MBA in the industry going forward?

I decided to get my MBA in order to gain the corporate strategic skillset so that I can affect the entertainment industry beyond just solitary productions, and my goal is still to work in content strategy or corporate strategy at a network or a studio. There are so many changes happening in the entertainment industry right now with the saturation of the streaming market, so it’s an exciting time to find new ways to innovate.

What advice would you give to an incoming MBA looking to pursue a career in entertainment?

Reach out and talk to anyone who is willing to have a conversation with you. There’s no wrong path (which is hard to remind myself), and the industry is so small that any conversation is worth having. Learning from anyone that you can will definitely open doors.

As you get ready to graduate, what has been your favorite Stern moment?

I think it’s a tie between Block Olympics at the beginning of my first semester where Block 2 really showed up in style and the trip to Los Angeles for the Paramount Case Competition last year that happened right before everything shut down. While I definitely wish there could have been more trips through Stern, I’m glad that that one was able to happen before lockdown since I got to know my team better on that trip together.

Favorite Follies moment?

I really enjoyed the larger scenes we did where a lot of the cast was all on the call. It was so fun to see everyone in costume! Least favorite: my wig! It was perpetually falling off, but I made it work.

Who has been your biggest inspiration when preparing for the role of Genie?

I think you can’t have the Genie without thinking of Robin Williams of course, but I recently watched WandaVision on Disney+ and (without spoiling too much) I absolutely adored Katherine Hahn’s character and her magical hand motions. So I was definitely inspired a bit by her!

Most challenging part about a virtual Follies?

I think the most challenging part about doing Follies virtually has been missing out on the camaraderie that comes with late night rehearsals in person. There’s always an energy among the cast and crew in a live show, so it was a bit of a different experience doing it over Zoom. But our amazing directors really did a great job of pulling us all together!

Can we expect a full rendition of Friend Like Me?

Of course! Everybody needs a little magic! The song’s always been a favorite of mine, so I hope I do it justice.

Live action or animated Aladdin?  

Everybody always says that the live action Aladdin was terrible, and I personally don’t think it was as bad as people say it was! But with that being said, animated by far, if only for Robin Williams and nostalgia.

Any parting advice for the Follies team next year?

You’ve got big shoes to fill, so have fun with it!

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