Krisy Dennis is performing her wonderful solo musical “Ladies First” at the Whitefire Theatre again!
I saw “Ladies First” at Whitefire Theatre Solofest last year, before either shut down, of course. You can find the review here: https://nohoartsdistrict.com/the-whitefire-theatre-solofest-presents-ladies-first/
It’s a lovey frolic through the lives of some of the most influential women of the last century or so. With musical numbers either written for the show, or cunningly adapted to meet the theme head on I loved it. But then I’m a sucker for musicals and anything female oriented!
Since I had already reviewed the show, we though we would find out a little more about Krisy and why she decided to create this epic!
So here she is in her own words.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer and performer.
A: I’ve been writing and performing since I was 13. In drama, I won several awards for plays and monologues, some originals. I continued acting and singing through high school and came to Los Angeles to attend acting school at 18 years old. From there, I did musical theatre, some TV, modeling and film work. I started developing solo works when I was at Theater East in Studio City in the early 2000s. Although I fell into a career in banking, I also continued working on my craft and writing which eventually led to my collaboration with Bob Garrett when we came up with the idea for “Ladies First.”
How did you come up with this fascinating idea for a solo show?
A: I went to work with Bob Garrett on a vocal session (he started as my vocal coach). He said to me “Have you ever thought of doing your own one woman show?” I said, ‘Yes, how about doing a show about great women?” This was at the onset of the #Metoo movement. He said, ‘That’s a great idea!” He then pulled out the book “Quotable Women” by Elaine Partnow, a friend of his. He started reading all these great quotes of famous women in history. He came across a speech by suffragette Emellinne Pankhurst which was so moving, we decided to start with her as the first of now 15 women. We workshopped the show over the course of a year and the rest is history!
Bob Garrett co-wrote this with you, how did you meet and how long did this take to develop to the present show?
A: I started taking Bob’s musical theater workshops in 2011. It was 2016 when came up with the first character and added more over the course of a year and a half. Originally there were nine when I performed the show in July of 2017 but we decided to add more diversity with Rosa Parks, Billie Jean King and others.
Why did you want to perform this as a solo show, rather than with a group of actors?
A: I felt I have the versatility to create several characters from all my acting work throughout the years and found it challenging to play such a variety of women with different emotions, accents, and vocal styles with all the songs ranging from pop, R&B, musical theater and classical, in addition to comedy and drama.
Do you have any advice to anyone developing their own solo work?
A: Let your instincts and creativity drive your story, stay committed emotionally to the work, find a great director, and trust yourself and your talent!
Thank you Krisy!
“Ladies First” at Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest
Performed by Krisy Dennis. Written Krisy Dennis and Bob Garrett. Directed by Bob Garrett with musical direction by Michael Farr.
Sunday, August 15 at 5PM PDT