Posts Tagged ‘John Nasca’


I would like to congratulate my director and fellow castmate for their Broadway World Chicago awards.


Our director John Nasca, who is also costuming our show, won Best Costume Design (Resident Non-Equity) for his work on Reefer Madness at Circle Theatre.

Michelle McKenzie-Voigt won Best Actress in a Play (Resident Non-Equity) for her performance as Sissy in Sordid Lives at Ludicrous Theatre Company.

Tonight Charlie and I will be performing a scene from Beautiful Thing at a Christmas party – stay tuned for video and photos. Until then, have a Beautiful Day!


Michelle McKenzie-Voigt has professional credits ranging from Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) to camp (Poseidon: An Upside-Down Musical). Recent favorites include The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, Jesus Camp, Company, The Spitfire Grill, Cabaret, and Sordid Lives, for which she has been nominated for a 2012 Broadway World Chicago Award as Best Actress in a Play (Resident Non-Equity). She is honored to have worked with such theaters as Profiles, Provision, Organic, ITC, BrightSide, Cornservatory, Ludicrous, and Handbag, among others. A professional singer and voice talent, she is a Northwestern University graduate, four-time Chicago Emmy Award-nominee, and a proud company member of both PFP and Glitterati Productions.

Full Birth Name: Michelle Marie McKenzie-Voigt

Hometown: Evanston

Age you became interested in theatre:  I don’t remember a time – even as a child – when I wasn’t interested in performing.

Favorite show you worked on: Gypsy

Most memorable moment while working on a show: Every show has its own special memories, but in general, the moment just before I begin a big (solo) number is my favorite.  I feel as though I’m giving the audience a gift that’s just about to be unwrapped.

Mentors or inspirations:  My first mentor was my high school drama teacher, Frank Robins.  He’s no longer with us, but his support and encouragement were pivotal, to say the least.  After that, I’d have to say Tony Mockus, who got me my first Equity job, and John Nasca, who changed my life by giving me the role of a lifetime.

On a show day, how early do you arrive at the theatre:  I typically arrive at least 1 hour before curtain, but depending on the role, I may get there 2 hours early.

Dressing room must-have:  My script and, if it’s summertime, an electric fan!

A show and role you would like to do:  Non-musical: Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  Musical: I’d love to reprise Rose in Gypsy

If you were in NY for 4 hours what show would you see:  The Book of Mormon or anything John Nasca considers a “must-see”

The best part of waking up is: Folgers in your cup.  No, seriously, when I’ve been able to sleep soundly for 9 hours!

If you could change your first name, what would you change it to: I’ve always loved the name “Michelle” and would never change it.  But I do like the name “Katherine” – if I’d had a daughter, I would have named her that.

Favorite food:  Warm chocolate cake with a glass of ice-cold skim milk, preferably eaten in bed.

Worst costume:  I was dressed as a chicken for a dinner theater musical revue

First stage kiss: My first stage kiss was also my first kiss in real life!  I was 15 and rehearsing a scene from William Gibson’s wonderful play Dinny and the Witches.  All my friends knew I had not yet been kissed and they congregated en masse in the auditorium to watch the first rehearsal of that pivotal scene!

One lesson you have learned while working in the theatre:  Patience.

Most unplanned moment or funniest unscripted moment that happened to you while onstage:  This was by no means funny, but it was certainly unplanned.  During Gypsy, I was about to launch into “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” when one of my bracelets broke, scattering dozens of tiny round beads directly in my path.  The director  held his breath – he had visions of me slipping on the beads, which were everywhere, and crashing to the floor.  Fortunately, that did not happen!

Pre-show ritual:  I don’t have one.  I do like to review the notes the director has given me throughout the rehearsal process, but I wouldn’t call it a ritual.

Biggest pet peeve: Knowing when the show is going to be videotaped.

One piece of advice for those who are aspiring to work in the theatre:

1)   Believe in yourself.  If you don’t, no one else will. 

2)   Always ALWAYS be polite to everyone.


4)   Take classes; it’s important to keep learning and growing. 

5)   Read plays and go to see theater.

(I guess that’s more than one, isn’t it?)

leahKiah is a sophomore drama major at Lincoln Park High school, and is ecstatic about being able to be a part of Beautiful Thing. Her previous stage work includes, Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, Dorothy in The Wiz, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie. Most recent film credits, “Yellow Snow Cones” and “Blink”.

Full Birth Name: Kiah Gardner McKirnan

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Age you became interested in theatre: 11-12

Favorite show you worked on: Ragtime, Sweeney Todd

Mentors or inspirations: Johnny Depp is such a malleable actor. I really aspire to be someone who can conform to a part so well and make it appear so effortless.

On a show day, how early do you arrive at the theatre: Either right at call time or a little before. I want to be available, but I don’t want to get in the way.

Dressing room must-have: Power foods; almonds, water bottles, protein bars… and sour patch watermelons.

A show and role you would like to do: Realistically, Mimi in Rent. Unrealistically, Cosette in Les Miserables.

If you were in NY for 4 hours what show would you see: Oh gosh. Lion King for the spectacle, Newsies and Mary Poppins for the fun and The Book of Mormon for the laughs.

The best part of waking up is: Smelling the eggs and bakey.

If you could change your first name, what would you change it to: Anastasia is my cousins name, and the nicknames are endless. And they aren’t ridiculous like, “Ki” (k-eye) or “Ah” (uh).

Favorite food: Mexican, Greek, Asian. Anything from the above three.

If you could meet a Broadway legend, living or dead, who would you meet: Heather Headly!!!

Worst costume: I was in a staged production of Narina. The costume consitited of styrofome horns clipped to me=y head and a wool overcoat. Which in turn, all fell of during a rousing rendition of, “Turkish, Turkish, Delight”.

First stage kiss: Have not actually had one yet! Any takers? 😉

One lesson you have learned while working in the theatre: Never try to direct your scene partner or ensemble members around the stage. It is entirely the director’s job to do this. I have learned the hard way, and I also hate it when it happens to me.

Most unplanned moment or funniest unscripted moment that happened to you while onstage: During a production of Annie that I was in, an orphan became a little frightened and peed on the stage. During, “It’s a Hard Knock Life”. We all kind of mistook the pee for the water coming from the mop buckets…. I guess more disgusting then funny now that I think about it.

Pre-show ritual:  I imagine that I am watching myself in the audience. If I can somehow “fool” myself and really envision me watching “Leah”, or whatever character, I know I’m doing a good job

*Biggest pet peeve: When people lock their car doors after you’ve gotten in. I guess they think I at some point during the journey I will throw myself from the moving vehicle?

One piece of advice for those who are aspiring to work in the theatre: Work for yourself. Be your own advocator and be your own agent. You know what you are good at, and you know what will work for you. You cannot just sit around and wait for the “big break” to come to you. Get out there, be heard, be seen, and be great.

Here are a few photos from our rehearsal last night. Check back tomorrow for a special video our cast put together for Global Bullying Prevention Day. Until then, have a Beautiful day!

photo 5photo 4photo 3photo 1photo

Our Thanksgiving break is over; we head back to the rehearsal space tonight to review a few scenes from the show. In an earlier blog, I promised that I would post at least two updates a week. I broke that promise: the show went into emergency mode, which put the blog on hold.

Let me start off by saying that I have been asked by the producers of the show not to share specific details of the situation.

Four days before Thanksgiving, the producers of the show received an email stating we would not be able to use the theatre at which we planned to perform Beautiful Thing and would need to find a new space.

The producers and their teams went into emergency mode and put out an SOS for a new venue. The biggest challenge was finding a space that was available – keep in mind that we are scheduled to open in less than two months and theatre spaces are usually booked several months in advance. The next big challenge was finding a space that is within our budget. After two days of fast and furious emails and phone calls, we were led to the Athenaeum Theatre. We contacted management at the Athenaeum, which had a theatre space available at the time that we needed. It’s a great theatre, a great location, and the staff is amazing, so it felt like a fantastic match. 

Once our producers had a meeting with the Athenaeum, they were forced to make a hard decision. The space fits the needs of our production, but it comes with a higher price tag than the producers had budgeted for. After looking into various theatres in Chicago, the producers realized this really was the best deal they were going to find. After much consideration, the producers decided to move forward with mounting the show in the hope that they could raise the money needed to make up the difference. Not only do they need to make up the difference in the rent, now all of our marketing materials also need to be reprinted with the new location, which the budget cannot support.

So here we are under two months before our first preview and everyone has changed their focus from promoting the show to fundraising.

Since you’ve been reading this blog, you know the passion we all have for telling this story. We are determined to move forward and remain confident, but we need the help of many people – including people like you – to get this show mounted.  Your support at any level is critically needed and deeply appreciated.  I know there are many organizations worthy of your support – especially at this time of year – but please consider making Beautiful Thing one of them. Please click on the link below. You even have an opportunity to “adopt” one of the actors, or a specific aspect of the production, such as costumes or lighting!  And thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your support.

Until next time, have a Beautiful Day!

Cast members and the director of Beautiful Thing attend the world premiere opening of the Jeff-recommended At The Flash now playing through through December 16 at Center on Halsted’s Hoover-Leppen Theatre. The winner of Pride Films and Plays 2012 Great Gay Play and Musical Contest, this remarkable one-man show was written by Sean Chandler and David Leeper, directed by David Zak, and stars David Leeper. For ticket info, CLICK HERE.

Left to right : Charlie Wein, Michelle McKenzie-Voigt, Director John Nasca, Robert Hilliard and Patrick Rybarczyk.

Until next time, have a Beautiful day!

As I mentioned in my previous post, our director John Nasca and Michelle McKenzie-Voigt, who plays my mum in the show, have both been nominated for Broadway World Chicago awards.

John Nasca is nominated for Best Costume Design (Resident Non-Equity) for his work on Reefer Madness at Circle Theatre.

Michelle McKenzie-Voigt is nominated for Best Actress in a Play (Resident Non-Equity) for her performance as Sissy in Sordid Lives at Ludicrous Theatre Company.

Please take a moment and click in the image above which will take you to the voting website. There are a bunch of categories to get through, but you don’t have to vote in each one. (Please note that you can vote only once per e-mail address.) I know they – and I – would certainly appreciate your voting for them!

I am off to memorize more lines. Until next time, have a beautiful day!

We have postcards!!! Well, we don’t have postcards yet, but they were ordered over the weekend. I just got my hands on the digital copy of the postcard designed by Tiffany Nasca; they’re pretty awesome!

Postcard – Front

Postcard – Back


Until next time, have a beautiful day!