Where are you from?
I’m from the good ol’ town of Steger, IL.
What’s something people would never guess about you from looking at you?
Due to a detached retina a little over 10 years ago (and not doing something about it right away), my eyesight in my right eye is a little warped. I can see fine but I definitely need the help of my left eye to read properly.
What made you decide to pursue Theatre?
Ah, yes. The year was [CENSORED] and 16 year old Kelly had to choose between playing varsity softball or trying out for the musical which happened to be Grease (one of my absolute favorites). Due to unforeseen circumstances, the musical ended up being The Fantasticks and I got cast in the role of “Henry”. I wore a bald cap and mustache; did my best “British Old Man” voice; and moved around slap-stickily. I remember that feeling of making my first entrance onstage, feeling the energy of the audience, feeling the lights in my eyes and making people laugh. After that, the seed was planted.
What drew you to Stage Combat?
Definitely through the help of Mr. Dan Foss. At the time, he was getting ready to direct the Babes’ show, Susan Swayne & the Bewildered Bride. I didn’t really have any stage combat experience at the time and he told me that R&D Choreography was offering a Smallsword for the Stage class (which is the weapon used in Swayne). I took the class and fell in love with it. I loved how it exercised a different part of my brain and challenged me in ways I had never been challenged before. Still does! I love how stage combat overall enhances storytelling.
What’s your favorite weapon?
Well, you never forget your first, so for me it’s the Smallsword (and of course my trusty old phoenix feather wand).
What drew you to Babes With Blades?
The first Babes show I saw was The Double. It was such a fun and unique show. When I heard that the Babes were offering a Swashbuckling workshop where you could learn the fighting style used in The Double, I jumped at it. After that, I took the aforementioned Smallsword class; auditioned for Swayne; and luckily got cast (I ran around my house squee-ing after receiving the news – true story. Just ask my fiancee). Through doing Swayne, I met and got to know a lot of Babes. Everyone’s energy and awesomeness drew me in. I’m so lucky and happy to be part of such a hard working group of amazing ladies.
Who is your role model (and why)?
I’m definitely inspired by a lot of people. The first that come to mind are my Mom and Dad. Both of my parents worked so hard to support my brother and I. It’s through them that I know the value of perseverance and hard work. I look up to my brother who always inspired me to push myself (unbeknownst to him, I think). Through him, I pushed myself to improve my skills at sports, school, and band. All three of them have offered me nothing but support in my life and I’m eternally grateful to them for that.
What women’s issue is most important to you?
I gotta say, it’s letting WOMEN decide what to do with their own bodies! I seriously can’t believe some of the things that are being said by politicians not to mention some of the legislation that is being passed. There are too many times I’ve said, “Wait. This article WASN’T written by The Onion?” In the same vein, the war on Planned Parenthood. There was a time in my life where I relied on Planned Parenthood for healthcare as I’m sure many women have and continue to do. I’m trying to be diplomatic with this answer but at the end of the day, men should not be controlling what women do with their own bodies.
What is one small thing people can do to effect change in their community in regards to this issue?
Be an ally. Listen to people’s stories. Offer your support. Doing these things can speak volumes if we’re all doing it.