Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Spotlight On...Kelly Maxwell

Name: Kelly Maxwell

Hometown: Muscatine, Iowa

Education: University of Iowa - Iowa City and University of Wisconsin - Madison (Art); East-West College of the Healing Arts, Portland, Oregon (Massage Therapy)

Favorite Credits: Monkey Business Institute improv comedy troupe member

Why theater?: It lets me use all my best powers such as my listening powers, my creativity powers, my pretending powers, and my cooperation powers.  Theater is where I feel most comfortable using my voice, both the one that comes from my throat and the one that comes from my heart.   Every show is a new life.

Tell us about HELD: A Musical Fantasy: I think HELD had been building in my subconscious for about 20 years.  For me, it's about emotional repression and release.  It's visceral and personal and I'm so glad I got it out of myself and into the world.  I'm proud of myself and proud of this show.  It was my first full-length script.

What inspired you to create HELD: A Musical Fantasy?: The collaborative energy between myself and my writing partner, Meghan Rose.  Working with her is what inspired me to create this beautiful thing.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Shows that are honest, shows that make me feel things, shows that are surprising,  performances that are true and present.  I love it when I can tell everyone on the team is in love with their part.  I like theater that shows me worlds that are different from mine. Going to see live, local music is almost always inspiring to me.  Performing or watching improv does it for me, too, in a big way.  Challenges inspire me.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: My son, Jonas.  He's four years old now and when he's a little older, if he's into it,  I would love to collaborate with him on some kind of performance project.  He's the best there ever was.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Here: The Improvised Musical by Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto at iO Chicago

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Kristen Bell stars as Kelly Maxwell  in "I'm a Grown-Up",  the movie critics are calling "irritatingly delightful", "surprisingly dark", and "only one hour long".

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:  I'm trying to think of one but I don't think I feel guilty about my pleasures.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Writing more songs, playing more music, being sad that I wasn't working in theater.

What’s up next?: Playscapes, written and directed by Kelly Maxwell (that's me!) at Broom Street Theatre, October-November 2016.  Playscapes is a scripted show with a structure inspired by an improv form called the Harold.  It is nine scenes about play, featuring seven of Madison's most excellent actresses.