Award-winning documentary directed by Albion native will be featured at Upstate Film Festival

Posted 4 May 2022 at 11:00 am

Provided photo: Patrick Riviere speaks on set with Broadway veteran Mary Ellen Ashley, who is the focus of a documentary produced and directed by Riviere.

Press Release

BUFFALO – Albion native and Niagara University Graduate Patrick Riviere has just learned that his award-winning documentary film, Just a Broadway Baby: Mary Ellen Ashley has been named an “Official Selection” at the Inaugural Upstate NY Film Festival to be held June 3 – June 9 at Eastern Hills Cinema in Williamsville. The film is slated to screen as part of BLOCK 16 on June 6th at 5:30PM.

Patrick Riviere

The film follows the career and life of Mary Ellen Ashley (formerly Mary Ellen Glass) who made her Broadway debut at the age of 5 in An Innocent Voyage. She would follow that with a role that was created just for her in the original Broadway production of Annie Get Your Gun with Ethel Merman.

Ashley grew up with the show and would go on to play all of the younger Oakley sisters and stay with the production for the entire run. But Broadway was not her only success. She was on radio, early Television, films, Las Vegas, her own club act and a plethora of Regional Theaters (including ArtPark) playing the most beloved leading ladies numerous times: Dolly Levi, Mame Dennis, Mama Rose…the list goes on. She would return to Broadway in the original production of Yentl starring Tovah Feldshuh. For eight decades she has graced the stage and screen and she met Riviere when they co-starred in the World Premiere of Family Dinner Off-Broadway over a decade ago.

The film won “Best Picture” at its World Premiere at The Oregon Documentary Film Festival in January. Riviere himself was awarded “Best Director of a Documentary Short” from The Vesuvius International Film Festival in Italy and the “Indie Soul Special Recognition Award” from The Boston International Film Festival (BIFF).

The official movie poster for Just a Broadway Baby: Mary Ellen Ashley

The film was also a nominee for Best Documentary Film at Green Mountain International Film Festival and Texas Short Film Festival. The film has also screened at Dam Short Film Festival. In addition, the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has invited the film to become a part of its permanent archive.

Riviere hails from Albion and graduated with honors from Niagara University where he was known for his roles both on the Niagara U main-stage and at ArtPark (most notably as Action in West Side Story, Che in Evita and Ali Hakim in Oklahoma).

In Buffalo he has performed at Studio Arena in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and several years ago co-starred as Gangster #1 in the Kleinhans/Buffalo Philharmonic Concert of Kiss Me Kate! starring Michele Ragusa.

He won a Gold Telly Award for his starring role in an Attorney Tom Spark’s Commercial which debuted during Super Bowl LII (2018) in the Providence, RI and Western MA Markets on NBC and was renewed for a fifth year in January. He is also a director, playwright and arts administrator and his play, The House of Nunzio, was named “Festival Winner” at The Barnstable Comedy Club in 2020. This film marks his directorial debut. He now resides on Cape Cod.

Editor Laird Odgen also hails from Albion and is the Creator and Executive Producer of “Captain Stargood” which brought him to collaborate with Riviere again after they had performed together in High School in My Fair Lady, many years earlier. Odgen approached Riviere about voicing two of the characters in the puppet based sci-fi spoof, which is currently available on-line.

More information, including the official trailer for the film can be found by visiting