Monday, August 15, 2011

Spotlight On...Kelly Pekar

Name: Kelly Pekar

Hometown: Walton Hills, OH

Education: BFA in acting/musical theatre emphasis, Wright State University

Select Credits: Jekyll and Hyde (Emma) Forestburgh Playhouse; A Little Night Music (Anne) New Stage Collective; West Side Story (Maria) Jersey Productions; The Sound of Music (Maria) Jersey Productions; toured with Cirque Dreams Holidaze (Angel); Cyrano (Roxanne) Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park touring production; and the premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation of Three Sisters, directed by John Doyle at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (U/S Irina, Maid).

Why theater? Oh gosh. It never “wasn’t” theater! From the time I was very young, seeing or acting in plays has been such a transformative experience for me. I always knew that this was what I wanted to do. In broader terms, I think the theater is important because it connects us to the world, and to other people’s experiences. It teaches us empathy, or can.

Tell us about Happy Worst Day Ever: HWDE, written by the brilliant Arlene Hutton, is a co-production with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and is directed by the incomparable Mark Lutwak. The play follows four sixth graders as they grapple with media pressure, family issues, and claiming their own identity. It is a wonderfully funny play intended for a multi-generational audience…this play is very special, it isn’t just “theater for children,” or even “for families.” It’s really “theater for everyone!”

What’s the best part of Happy Worst Day Ever?: The people! It is rare to find a group that is this uniformly talented, grounded, generous, and operating on an ego-less playing field. If a verb existed for this little team, it would be “to give.” I feel incredibly fortunate every day. And the play itself is of course, brilliant. I don’t typically get to play roles like this one.

What kind of theater speaks to you?: I appreciate theater that challenges me. That draws me in (as an audience member or as an actor) to times, places, and lives that aren’t necessarily part of my every day experience, and makes me re-evaluate the way I view my place in the world. The genre matters very little to me, I just enjoy stories that raise important questions and stir something inside the audience (and the actor!)

What’s it like to be a part of FringeNYC?: It’s already so exciting and we’ve barely started! There’s a wonderful energy about the festival – artists from everywhere coming together, filling up the various spaces around this great city and creating, which is what I believe all humans are meant to do.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: So many. Clara in The Light in the Piazza is something I’ve been itching to do. But I’m also really interested in developing new plays and musicals. Originating a role is a dream of mine.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I hope to see as many shows as I can! With so many, it’s difficult to pick just a few to mention.

What’s up next?: Singing in a cabaret at the Duplex on September 18, and looking for the next theater gig!

For more information on Happy Worst Day Ever, please visit And take a look at and