Marin Mazzie returns to Broadway after battling cancer

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Sandy Kenyon reporting

A Broadway star is back in the spotlight in a big way after a battle with cancer, and Marin Mazzie's return to the stage in "The King and I" was a cause for celebration for fans of the three-time Tony nominee.

Mazzie has starred in "Bullets Over Broadway" and "Kiss Me Kate," but this opening had special meaning for the actress and her family.

She has found new meaning in the songs from the show after a successful battle against ovarian cancer.

"I'm in remission," she said. "And I'm singing, 'whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect and whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect I'm afraid.'"

In the show, Mazzie plays a school teacher newly arrived in the far east to teach the children and their father, the King of Siam.

The king is played by Daniel Dae Kim, best known for the TV series "Lost."

Kim brought Mazzie a lei from his home in Hawaii, where "Lost" was filmed, to brighten her dressing room. And from her first time setting foot back on stage, she knew her return felt assured.

"That first preview was probably the most meaningful," she said. "Ever.

Now, she is living proof of the phrase "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'

"I feel my life has changed," she said. "And for the better."

She added that her illness has also helped strength her 18-year marriage.

"It just brought out things in us we didn't know were there, because we never had to tap them before," she said. "It made the bond closer. It made our lives more meaningful."

Chemotherapy caused Mazzie to lose her famous long, blonde locks, and she emerged from treatment with short hair. But now, she likes the way she looks and plan to keep it that way.

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