Posts Tagged ‘Midtown International Theatre Festival’

Kelly Nichols is rising performer who crosses many genres. She’s an actress, singer, and stand-up comedian. Kelly has delighted audiences in “Into The Woods” (The Theatre Company in Hoboken, NJ), “Prince Trevor Amongst the Elephants” (Cross-Eyed Bear Productions/Midtown International Theatre Festival), “keepingabreast” (Ratutu Collaborative), and “The Clearing” (The Phoenix Players). For her role in “Prince Trevor Amongst the Elephants,” Kelly was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play and cast won the Midtown Festival’s award for Outstanding Overall Production of a New Comedy Play. As a member of the Wildlife Theatre based at the Central Park Zoo, Kelly uses her talents as a performer to entertain children all over the tri-state area. Additionally, she is a performing company member with the Attic, Jr. Children’s Theatre Series in collaboration with The Attic Ensemble, created, written, directed, and produced by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Billy Mitchell.  Kelly just finished a successful run in the 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival writing and starring in “10 Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You,” which was directed by Billy Mitchell and included songs by fellow participant Bobby Cronin, one of seven contributing composer/lyricists (click here for my review). Kelly’s gearing up for her next move, stay tuned to “Adaumbelle’s Quest” to find out what it will be!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Hmmm….that’s tough. I can’t say that any person really inspired me. I have ALWAYS been a ham and have loved being the center of attention. I would say if there was a person who’s always been there rooting for me, it would be my sister. She sang with me when we performed ABBA concerts on my parents’ fireplace. She always laughed at my jokes, so I figured I should keep going.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? The highest note I can sing is probably an A or so above middle C. The lowest is probably an F or an E almost 2 octaves below middle C.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? There are SO MANY people I would love to perform with, but I would have to say since I saw [title of show] I would love to work with Susan Blackwell. She’s hilarious. Maybe we could play sisters. That would be fun.

4. Do you have any rituals that you have to do before a performance? How do you decompress after a show? When I’m in a musical, I steam my throat two times a day for about 20 minutes a session. It just feels good. I drink a lot of warm water and warm up my singing voice and my speaking voice. I also do this weird thing to get into character backstage before the show starts. I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you…just kidding. The long and short of it is letting go of me and sucking up my character. I decompress by watching just one show on T.V. before I go to bed. If I am lucky and it’s still on my DVR, it’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” It’s ridiculously entertaining to me and helps me to wind down a lot. I also read…This show I’ve been soaking my feet in the bathtub a lot because it’s SO HOT this summer and that helps me cool down before bed.

5. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? If I could dream about anyone while I sleep it would be Eric the Vampire from True Blood. Wait, is my husband going to read this?Then my answer is my husband. Of COURSE I would only want to dream about my husband. Actually, if I could have the whole dream thing happen for me 3 times it would be my husband, Eric the Vampire and my Grandmother, because I’d like to talk with her about why she was the way she was.

6. What’s the best advice someone ever gave you? The best advice someone ever gave me was “Let go.” Simple, effective advice. It’s pretty hard to do for me, but I’ve been working on it for a while. I think I’m getting better. The second was “Grow like a tree,” that was pretty recent, but is surprisingly always applicable for me.

7. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Well, I tend to be pretty vocal about my strange and unusual talents, so many people know what they are, but I would say, what generally slips by people is that I can read upside down. I also have some kind of an inner compass and very very rarely get lost.

8. Books or Magazines? I love books. Not magazines so much. They go by too quickly. My husband loves to tell people about my book buying habits. I generally buy or check out at least 10 books. I can finish reading them in less than a month. I’m a voracious reader. I love so many books that it’s probably easier to tell you some of my favorite authors. I love Alice Hoffman, Charlaine Harris, Jodi Picoult, Carol Goodman…Oh I LOVE BOOKS!!! If I do read a magazine, it’s usually People because I can do the crossword in it in a matter of minutes and it makes me feel super smart.

9. Favorite website? Favorite website at the moment (besides yours??? 😉 ) I love baking websites: thepioneerwoman.com, Bakerella.com, cakewrecks.com. Love love love them!

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman. Is there any question? She has a golden lasso. 🙂


11. Favorite skin care product? Ocean Salt Exfoliating Scrub. Mmmmm.

12. Favorite store to shop in? LUSH (bath and body products…I could be in that store FOREVER!!!)

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Tonight I saw “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” which is part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival. Written by Kelly Nichols and directed by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Billy Mitchell, this show has many reasons to attend!

This show is fun and identifiable. “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” tells the story of Katie, a mid-western girl who just moved to NYC and hoping to find love. Katie takes the audience on her journey of dating scenarios which the audience can relate to…from on-line dating to finding out your date is not exactly who you thought you were going out with to getting hit on by the homeless man because you missed your train. Whatever the scenario, you either know someone or you yourself have been through that situation.

To help move the story along is a score of enjoyable songs written by some of today’s rising composers. Some of the more enjoyable ones are written by Jason Purdy and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Bobby Cronin. Jason’s song “Worse Things” is very identifiable because dating is very difficult and one can get very sad by it, but now there is Jason’s song to remind that there could be “Worse Things” than bad dates. Bobby’s songs are also identifiable as well as uplifting. “Lucky In Love” is a song that many of us sing in our head as we head out on each first new date, hoping this time it’s going to work out. “You Deserve Better” reminds us that for all the creeps we date, don’t settle for less and lose sight of what you’re looking for deep down because after all YOU are what matters most! “Reasons” (with additional lyrics by Brett Teresa) has Katie searching for why her dates are not working out and gets her starting to look inside herself for the answers.

The scene stealers in this show are Benjamin Holmes as “Homeless Guy” using his pristine facial expressions & body language to bring this character to life, Marvin Riggins, Jr. as “Jon” is very enjoyable as he combines his comedic and puppetry skills together, and Ryan Stadler as the guy who flicks “Katie” off because she won’t go home with him. Last, but certainly not least, is Kelly who stars as “Katie.” In addition to being the book writer of this show, Kelly’s comedic moments are strengthened by her background as a stand-up comedian. When Kelly belts those notes, the audience is listening.

“Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” is a show to see and you have 2 chances left: Saturday, July 24 at 9pm & Thursday, July 29 at 6pm

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Be sure to catch “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” at the Midtown International Theatre Festival from July 17-29! Written by Kelly Nichols and directed by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Billy Mitchell “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” tells the story of Katie, a small-town girl looking for Mr. Right in the big city. This fresh new musical follows Katie as she leaps and bounds (and rebounds) her way through the weirdoes, heroes, egos, and quite possibly the biggest obstacle of all: herself! The men she meets remind her that you kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Scratch that. You kiss a lot of frogs…you might find your prince.

Featuring music and lyrics of “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Bobby Cronin along with Blake Hackler, Andrew Byrne, Jason Purdy, Phillip Chernyak, Steven Silverstein, Alan Bukowiecki, “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” is one show you don’t want to miss!

“Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” plays at the June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street, first floor) on July 17 at 1pm, July 18 at 4:30pm, July 20 at 6pm, July 24 at 9pm, July 29 at 6pm. Tickets are $18!

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Carrie Cimma is a performer to keep watch for. She has performed in the national tours of Cameron Mackintosh’s “Oliver,” “The Full Monty,” and the first national tour of “The Wedding Singer.” She was nominated for a 2007 Best Supporting actress award for her role of “Simparticus” in “Bloody Lies” which played at the Midtown International Theatre Festival. In 2008 she won a Best Actress Award for playing “Mrs. Lovett” in that national tour of “Sweeney Todd.” Most recently, Carrie was nominated for a 2010 Drama Desk Award for her portrayal of “Bridget Sullivan” in the Off-Broadway show “Lizzie Borden” and was part of the world premiere of Frank Wildhorn’s “Wonderland.” Carrie is gearing up for her next venture, so be sure to check out http://www.carriecimma.com for all the latest on Carrie!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I was in love with early Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler. I think I just wanted to wear big hats. I basically wore out Funny Girl on vinyl. Also, my mom would dance me around the living room to the Beatles. Music and comedy were always a big part of my life.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I bottom out at a C below middle C.  No one ever asks me to sing above an E flat. Something about me just screams tenor.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’m dying to do an Apatow movie. I’d do it for free. I’d pay HIM.

4. What’s your proudest moment? The Drama Desk nomination was really up there. Also, when John Doyle told me I was “grand from the knees up” as Lovett. That’s pretty high praise from him.

5. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I like having dreams where I’m the front man for The Who. And Keith Moon is still alive.

6. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I think everyone knows I’m strange and unusual.

7. Favorite drink? Jameson, hold the ice.

8. Favorite skin care product? Sunshine.

9. Favorite website? Foodtv.com. Amazing.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Batgirl.


11. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? I had a voice teacher tell me: “You’re not going to work until you’re older.  And you could be an ingenue, but you’ll be eating lettuce for the rest of your life. Enjoy your life, and just be patient, it’ll happen for you”. That was pretty tough to swallow at the time, but he was right on the nose.

12. What’s your most embarrassing on-stage moment? I forgot the lyrics to “By the Sea” during a preview of Sweeney. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something like “I’ll do you every Friday”. That was pretty rough. Also, I might have passed gas during a dance number in The Wedding Singer and my fellow cast mates had to endure the stink for the whole seven minute number. I had to own up to it after, it’s the right thing to do : )

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Photo Credit: Anne Rumberger

Billy Mitchell


The Midtown International Theatre Festival Nominations came out and a big Congratulations goes out to fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants Billy Mitchell, Grace Kiley, and their respective shows “Bartholomew Fair, NJ” & “NeverCracked” on their nominations!

Grace Kiley: Nominated “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play or Musical”

“NeverCracked”: Nominated “Outstanding Production of a Special Event”

Billy Mitchell: Nominated “Outstanding Direction”

“Bartholomew Fair, NJ”: Nominated: “Outstanding Show Marketing & Advertising”

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Ben StrothmannCatch fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Ben Strothmann in the Midtown International Theatre Festival production of “Holy Thy Peace, Thou Knave”, an evening of shorts.

Where Eagles Dare Studio Blackbird, 347 West 36 Street, 13th Floor

Howling Moon Cab Company Presents “The Play Plays”, a darkly comic look at the experience of doing theatre. “Holy Thy Peace, Thou Knave” is a 10 minute play set backstage at a production of “Twelfth Night”-a last minute understudy for Sir Toby Belch goes a little haywire onstage, causing a consternation among the rest of the cast. Ben plays the understudy they find to replace Sir Toby Belch.


Friday, July 31 at 5:30pm

Saturday, August 1 at 7:15pm

Sunday, August 2 at 2:30pm

Tickets: $15 (General Admission), $12 (Students & Seniors) https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/664855/1246483800000

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Photo credit: Anne Rumberger

Photo credit: Anne Rumberger

Photo Credit: Anne Rumberger

Photo Credit: Anne Rumberger

On Saturday, July 25 I went to see the Midtown International Theatre Festival production of “NeverCracked”; produced by The Intentional Theatre Group & Carissa Baker (www.intentionaltheatregroup.net). With “NeverCracked”, you’re getting to see two shows in one night. One show is “CRACKED” & the second is “NEVER SWIM ALONE”.

“CRACKED”, by Gwydion Suilebhan tells the story of a woman, an audience, and an egg.  It stars Grace Kiley as a cooking-show host who will demonstrate the many ways to use an egg as an ingredient. That demonstration is just the surface of what lies beneath, which is performed skillfully by Ms. Kiley. An egg is like the heart–fragile and precious with a protective shell that can easily be shattered if not taken care of properly. We all do what we can to never crack the egg, but sometimes it happens…the egg falls, gets thrown, or even squashed. When it does, the egg just like our hearts morph into something much more…more durable and stronger, eventually becoming whole again.

On the opposite end of the spectrum “Never Swim Alone” by Daniel Macivor is a comedy starring Candice Holdorf, Nick Lewis, and Daniel Dugan. It tells the tale of old friends competing in fast-paced silly battles of wit, one-ups, and manliness. The skills of these three performers blend together wonderfully. Nick & Daniel couldn’t be more perfect buds with many a times talking in unison. It reminded me of the “Crimson Twins (Tomax & Xamot)” from “G.I. Joe” the way one would talk, then the other, then both at the same time. Watching this show, one would believe they have been “friends” for a long time. Candace stands her own as the girl they both hope to get, whether it’s a look she gives the audience (very Bea Arthur) or posing like pin-up girl (a la Farrah Fawcett).  Funny, yet thought-provoking, “Never Swim Alone” made me wonder…what lengths does one go through to beat out the competition? What reward does one get from winning, aside from the prize at hand, while hurting others along the way? Is the competition at hand the best way to use our energy and time when both are so limited?

The only way to figure out the answeres to these questions and the analogy above is to go see “NeverCracked” at the WorkShop Theatre Co’s Main Stage (312 West 36th Street). Remaining showtimes are: Friday, July 31 at 9pm, Sunday, August 2nd at 8pm.  For tickets visit http://www.midtownfestival.org/

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Photo Credit: Anne Rumberger

Grace KileyFrom the NY Stage to regional productions to movies and television, Grace has been acting & coaching actors for over 25 years. Her most recent work is starring in “NeverCracked”, as part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival, produced by The Intentional Theatre Group & Carissa Baker (www.intentionaltheatregroup.net). With “NeverCracked”, you’re getting to see two shows in one night. One show is “NEVER SWIM ALONE” & the second, “CRACKED”  is the one starring Grace Kiley. “CRACKED”, by Gwydion Suilebhan) tells the story of a woman, an audience, and an egg. To find out the connection, you’ll have to come see the show. “NeverCracked” plays at the WorkShop Theatre Co’s Main Stage (312 West 36th Street). Showtimes are: Monday, July 13 at 8:30pm, Wednesday, July 15 at 5pm, Tuesday, July 21 at 8:30pm, Saturday, July 25 at 5pm, Friday, July 31 at 9pm, Sunday, August 2nd at 8pm.  For tickets visit http://www.midtownfestival.org/ and for all things Grace Kiley visit http://www.gracekiley.net/

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I have no idea. I was making up plays and performing with my best friend starting from very young and throughout my childhood. Acting was my way of playing and still is. But, it has also grown into a profound study of the human experience, both mine, and yours. I will say that my first acting teacher was Uta Hagen and her recognition of my acting changed my life because it communicated that there was something real about my love for it, that it wasn’t just a self-indulgent fantasy trip, nor was it childish. It has been my way of understanding life and living in the moment. Acting has held something much bigger for me and I think that is evident in my most recent play, CRACKED as part of the two-play sequence, NEVERCRACKED opening tonight at The Midtown Theatre Festival in NYC.

2. When did you realize you wanted to be a performer? I was always very shy growing up. Acting has always been kind of a secret, I mean admitting how much it is a part of me, the way I live and see things and understand life’s process. Being a performer was more of a struggle because of my very low sense of confidence when I was growing up. Acting technique has been important to me because it provides a framework that helps to move me past my fears so that I can perform openly and vulnerably. I remember my sister was the one slated to be the actor. I’m not sure why because she never did act. It’s taken my life to say yes to acting. I left if for many years and felt like my lover had died. Now I take it on wholeheartedly and I think, as a result, I’m doing my best work ever.

3. Do you have any strange and unusual talent that no one knows about? I have a talent for working with people and helping them find their creative essence. I practice this with my Performance Coaching. On a lighter note, I used to be amazing at ping pong. I used to keep up with the best male skiers when I was an instructor in Vermont. I also dance ballroom. Oh, I’m a couture seamstress and have made silk gowns and wedding dresses.

4. If you couldn’t do what you are doing now, what career would you choose? At this point nothing will stop me from acting. I have also been writing and have a book and two plays in the works. Okay, I might be a professional ballroom dancer. I’ve also always wanted to pilot a tugboat up the Hudson.

5. What is the best advice a teacher ever gave you? Follow your heart!

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? I walk constantly. I dance. I eat mostly vegetarian except for fish occasionally and I love all those things so there’s no battle.

7. Favorite musical/play? West Side Story/Sweet Bird of Youth.

8. Favorite author? A.H. Almaas. (He’s a genius.)

9. Favorite website? www.blueflowerarts.com and my own.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Don’t believe in them. We’re all super!

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