Kill Sister, Kill! A Musical – Cast Spotlight – Astrid Atherly

Astrid Atherly plays the sinfully seductive Vegas dancer, Kitty!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Astrid Atherly and in Kill Sister, Kill!  I am playing Kitty, Lily’s little ex-stripper sister. I envision Kitty being a restless soul looking for adventure. Tired of small town life, leaves home for greener pastures and ends up in a world of sex, drugs and alcohol, the trifecta of fun right! I feel her time in Vegas wasn’t all fun and games, but puts a happy demeanor because the truth sucks and she doesn’t want her sister to worry about her. I feel that Kitty loves her sister with every bone in her body. Yes, Lily is older, but Kitty’s street smarts lends to a protective side, that when confronted by danger in a grimy bar, protects her sister. I just recently finished playing Martha in Flotow’s Martha. It’s actually a lot of  fun to play such different characters. Going from a Lady in Waiting to the Queen to a Vegas dancer from Kansas, is a challenging and I am finding rewarding.

How did you first hear about the production?  

I first heard about Kill Sister, Kill!  a few years ago when they were at the Toronto Fringe Festival. I worked with Emily Dix, as a volunteer backstage crew at the New York Fringe last year! She told me about this production, found the audition notice and history wrote itself after that!

What has been your favourite moment of the rehearsal process so far?

My favorite moment was being introduced to the timbit song! I also have to say working with Samantha has been inspirational and a blessing. I honestly learn so much from this woman, I felt like I met a long lost sister. Also the fact that we have the exact same ethic background is crazy! I learn so much from this whole cast and seeing people so talented, working together is a great moment in itself.

Tell us about your character – what do you love about her? What are some challenges?

I love how out-going and sensual Kitty can be, but she is also smart and has a heart. She is strong and she doesn’t follow some rule set out for her years ago, she goes by the beat of her own drum. Some challenges I have with her, is Kitty’s death scene and some language within the script. My own personal beliefs are different from that of Kitty’s and I sometimes struggle to bring that as her truth, when it’s not my truth. What make her fun is that she is fun. She doesn’t want to have a care in the world. Things happens and one must move on, but I think she knows sometimes you need to be safe.

Why should people come see the show?

People need to see this show, because of its message. We don’t live in a perfect world, THERE ARE PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE THIS IN THE WORLD! The audience may feel uncomfortable at times, but these are very real issues and events that happen still today. You go from being disgusted to laughing in seconds.  To watch the story of a woman, who literally has her world torn apart, and see how she deals and rehabilitate her life is one of the biggest reasons to come. Her story is so powerful, it’s not pretty but life is not always pretty.

Any funny embarrassing rehearsal moments to share?

My pants slowly moving down, during combat practise of my death scene. I just had to lay there and take it!

Want to learn more about the show? Check out the website – www.killsisterkill.com

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Kill Sister, Kill! A Musical – Cast Spotlight – Felicity Adams-Hannigan

Felicity Adams-Hannigan or Fifi as most of us call her plays Kourtney, the hooker, in Kill Sister, Kill!

Tell us about yourself.

I play Kourtney the local hooker. I’ve envisioned her from the beginning as that party girl who came into the city from the suburbs one weekend, and just never took the train home.

This is the first time workshopping a musical for me, and my first time doing an original musical. Before this all of my work has been roles already originated by somebody else. This time I haven’t had anybody else’s interpretation influencing me, and that has been so scary, but so amazing at the same time. That being said, my favourite roles up until now have probably been Rossignol in Marat/Sade (Soup Can Theatre), Young Phyllis in Follies (Wavestage Theatre) and Pinkalicious in Pinkalicious the Musical (Vital Theatre).

How did you first hear about the production? 

I heard about the production through my friend Astrid (playing Kitty) who introduced me to Emily of Bygone Theatre through one of their Retro Radio Hours. I then met Michael the composer and musical director at a theatrical event in the city and he mentioned they were still searching for people and the rest is history. (Found out later at the same event I had met Jamie the director, but I didn’t know that’s who he was at the time). So, moral of the story: get your butt out to events! You never know what cool productions you’ll be hearing about.

What has been your favourite moment of the rehearsal process so far?

Hands down when our lovely director pointed at me and said “this, is a low level hooker”. Hopefully in reference to Kourtney, and not me.Tell us about your character – what do you love about her?

I liken Kourtney to a struggling actress. She knows she’s hooking in the minor leagues right now, but in her mind she’s just waiting for her big break. I’m loving her and mooky because they are much needed comedic relief in a very dark world.

Why do you think people should come see the show?

Because I’m in it, duh??!!
Okay, being serious, the feminist tones of the show appeal to me. I love that it’s a woman taking back the night. This is something I hold dear to my heart the older I get as I do not want my daughters (future tense) to live in a world where they think that if they are out late, or dress a certain way, or talk a certain way that they are asking for any kind of harassment from men.

Any funny rehearsal anecdotes to share?

When I sing high above the staff, I’ll admit it’s a challenge to even out my vibrato. One rehearsal Heather (Teresa) pointed out that I was an operatic hooker, and now during certain parts of songs I can’t stop giggling when I listen to myself.

Anything else we should know?

Just that this girl can now cross an item off her life “to do” list. NYC stage before age thirty!

Kill Sister, Kill! A Musical – Cast Spotlight – Samantha Walkes

Samantha Walks is starring as weapon of hellbent vengeance, Lily!

BIO: Samantha began her passion for theatre in high school which led her to perform for local community theatres in the area, and the Hamilton All-Star Jazz Band. Samantha was accepted to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy where she studied in LA and New York, making great strides in the industry. She took a break from theatre and returned to Canada in February of last year. At the start of 2015, Samantha decided to finally return to the stage and begin a career here at home. She formed a 70s-80s Motown, Disco group with her younger Sister, Candace, called Sister Walkes, which performs throughout the year with their 6 piece band. Her Canadian credits include: Three Testaments: Shalom, Pease, Salam (Niagara Falls, NY), Kill Sister, Kill (Bygone Theatre, New York City Fringe Festival), and The Man With the Womb (GRIP Media). Samantha gives all gratitude to God, her biggest supporter, closest friend and life partner.

Tell us a bit about your character.

I am playing the character, Lily. She is Kitty‘s older sister and is quite protective and concerned for the state of her soul. Ultimately, Lily had to be the mother they both never had and continues to feel responsible for Kitty. She is sweet, kind, considerate, nurturing and above all, want to do the Lord’s Will. This manifests in the ways she cares for the lost souls of New York City.

How did you first hear about the production?

I found a posting online that led me to the audition information. I wasn’t sure what to expect! But having lived in New York and knowing the hype that surrounds The Fringe Festival, I wanted to be apart of this project, no matter how big or small the role.

What has been your favourite moment of the rehearsal process so far?

The stage combat scenes with Ronnie and Dagger  have been a lot of fun. Making every hit feel real to the audience is my primary focus. When they can feel it in their gut, we have accomplished something worth celebrating.

 Tell us about your character – what do you love about her?

I love the closeness between the sisters and Lily’s love for God. My own Sister and my relationship with God are both very important to me and there are many events in Lily’s journey that parallel to my own life.

 Why do you think people should come see the show?

I think as human beings we are fascinated with suffering and punishment. We have a natural desire to see justice prevail. And so, the fall of an angel (Lily) and watching her struggle to find her way through the muck of life and it’s sufferings are worth more than the price of admission.

Kill Sister, Kill! A Musical – Crew Spotlight – Director Jamieson Child

Jamieson Child is co-writer and director of the show. Here he shares his thoughts on the process so far.

This is my third time directing this frigging show. You think I’d be sick of it by now. I’ve worked on numerous projects in the intervening years since my brother [Drac] and I first put on the earliest version of this show back in 2010 when it was nothing more than a very serious joke–but whether I’m acting, writing, or directing some other thing, I just keep coming back to Kill Sister, Kill!. I think we’re a little obsessed with our own idea and get too much joy freaking out an audience with new challenging material, mostly using humour and shock. I hate watching a lot theatre, but there is so much potential in the live format to grab people in their seats and give them a good shake, so this is me being a pissed off spectator wanting something entertaining out of the experience if I’m going to leave my house and spend more than $20.

A lot has happened since that first show and this time we’ve managed to assemble an amazing crew of very talented artists with a new perspective. Bygone Theatre helped us get the show back on its feet. Finding Mike Zahorak (Composer) and David Backshell (Lyricist) has launched us deeper into the depravity with more juice than ever before. They gave us the creative power we needed to expand and hear this story in a whole new way; now proudly, a full-length 90 minute musical. *Tears of joy.

However, this is my first time not acting in the show. I leave the character of Ronnie in better hands with Tom [Finn] anyway. So it goes. Taking off my performer cap was easy when he walked into the audition room. That’s how you know when you’re making the right decision out of a hard one…when the answer simply lands in your lap; it’s just following your instinct. I’d love to say that’s how easy my decision making process has been throughout the whole production so far, since I know the track so well, but we’ve changed the story so much, added new characters, big all-cast musical numbers, that I’ve been digging like a fiend into books, watching video, researching, pulling favours asking friends and colleagues for assistance wherever I need it. I’m lucky to be surrounded by a wicked cast who do more to empower me than they know. The true joy is in seeing our material come to life.

As for now, my excitement for taking Kill Sister, Kill! to the NYC Fringe off-Broadway stage is completely stunned by the colossal amount of work that remains to see this show reach the high level of thrilling performance that myself and my team demand from it. Will it be easy? No, but will we kick serious ass and blow minds? We’re ready for it.
I told you I like a challenge.

Kill Sister, Kill! A Musical – Cast Spotlight – Heather Motut

Heather plays tough-as-nails bartender Teresa in the upcoming Kill Sister, Kill! A Musical.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Heather Motut and I am an actor/singer.  I do both of those things, sometimes at the same time!  I’ve done a little bit of everything: plays, musicals, film, television, improv, and sketch comedy. I love any kind of collaborative project that allows me to work with fellow creative types in the community.  In Kill Sister, Kill!, I  play Teresa, the brassy, trashy, punk bartender who works by choice at “The Butt-hole,”  the most garbage establishment in New York City.
How did you first hear about the production?
I heard about this production through Jamieson.  We were on set for another project and he told me about the auditions.

What has been your favourite moment of the rehearsal process so far?
My favourite moment of the rehearsal process was the call back.  It was the first time I got to work with the material and I had an absolute blast.  It was also the first time I saw Astrid and Samantha work together, and I thought they were the bees knees.  Seeing these ladies, and hearing Drac and Jamieson’s hilarious script, and Mike’s gorgeous music, made me really want to be a part of this show.

Tell us about your character – what do you like best about her? What do you find challenging?
Teresa is an absolute treat to play.  She’s Queen of the Dregs for sure, but she’s got a good heart and is a smart judge of character. She stands up for people being abused or taken advantage of.  She sees Ronnie for the good egg he is and takes an interest in his making something of himself, something better than just his brother’s lackey. I love how honest and irreverent she can be.  Teresa is a true punk who celebrates complete freedom of action and attitude. It’s such a joy to play a character that is so  uninhibited, and I get to indulge so many delicious parts of my personality. The New York dialect definitely presents a challenge, but I’m finding so much of it comes from an attitude more than anything.  Watching a lot of George Carlin’s stuff has really helped me find that “Balls to the Wall” attitude this character needs.

Why should people come see the show?
I think people should come see this show because its going to be a lot of fun. Where else are you gonna see ”Kill Bill meets Sister Act” !?!!!??!?!?  It’s one of the most electric, bold, and joyous productions I’ve ever been involved in.  I’m a fan of anyone who takes risks in what they create, and the people involved in this production should get a friggen medal for that.
Have any funny rehearsal stories to share?
I have absolutely no funny or embarrassing rehearsal anecdotes to share. Rehearsals have all been very run of the mill, restrained, and all business all the time.  Very little fun has been had by anyone, and we’ve really kept a lid on silliness and mischief of any kind. Very serious bunch.
Check out Heather on the off-Broadway stage at Theatre 80, August 26-30, 2015. Tickets available now online.

Kill Sister, Kill! Crew Spotlight – Producer Emily Dix

How did you first get involved with KSK?

I met Jamieson Child back in late summer/early fall of 2014, when he auditioned for Rope. We hit it off in rehearsals right away, and at some point KSK came up in conversation. I remembered hearing about it when it was in Fringe a few years ago, and as I was looking for something to take to the NYC Fringe in the summer of 2015, I wanted to learn more. He had me read the script in October and I knew right away I wanted to help expand the show and bring it to New York.

What drew you to the project?

A few things. For one, it fit with Bygone’s style & mandate; a period piece, kinda dark & funny, and it was very closely tied to film as it’s inspired by vintage exploitation cinema. As well, I LOVE musicals, and really wanted to be involved in one again. Then of course there is my twisted love of cult & exploitation cinema, and I was excited by the fact that there were these 2 talented & crazy brothers who were just as into that stuff as I was, and who had taken that passion for the genre and put it towards building a really unique play. We hit it off early on and I thought we all had great complimentary skills. It just seemed like a good fit all around.

Describe your work as dramaturg, what does that entail?

It’s basically a fancy word for saying that I have to be aware of every creative aspect of the show, and that I am there sort of over-seeing the creative process. I met with Jamie & Drac a lot in the early stages and we worked out script stuff, expanding the story, breaking down beats, talking about music styles etc. Then, as we got into producing, I had to have a knowledge of the inspiration for the show to make sure that it was coming across in the marketing & overall production; being aware of the time period, the filmic references, all of that. Now, in the rehearsal stage, it’s being there to help support J with providing extra info for the actors. Being able to give period references to help fill out some gaps, to give them a strong background so they have something to build their characters off of. It’s about as broad and all encompassing as producing is, but for the other side of things.

What do you do as producer?

Everything. There are roles that are specifically mine, but at the end of the day the number one thing is making sure that everyone else is doing their job too, and stepping in to do it myself if they aren’t. As for my regular stuff? I’ve written up contracts, coordinated with the Fringe and the venue, assisted in casting & hiring, written up budgets, organized fundraisers & funding campaigns, made some posters, designed a website, worked on promoting, scheduled production meetings – you name it, I’ve done some part of it. And then I’m stage managing as well, so there’s some cross over. With that I get to be in rehearsals working closely with J the director and the cast. Really all the roles I’ve taken on just require a lot of overseeing and organizing, so while it’s an INSANE amount of stuff to get done, it actually gets a bit simpler the more I take on, because there is a lot of overlap.

What are some challenges that you’ve had to overcome?

When you’re working with artists there’s always a lot of passion & energy brought to every conversation, which is almost always good. It can make for some loud fights and big clashes though, now and then. Plus, this is a big show for a lot of us. Taking something out of city adds so many additional challenges (and costs) that it makes for a lot more stress than a usual show, and that can put a strain on relationships. I’m used to being the one directing Bygone shows as well, and so it’s a new process having to step back from that while still managing all the other stuff – not bad, but very different.

What has been your favourite part of the process so far?

Working with incredible people. I know, it sounds like a cheesy answer but it’s really true. I knew very early on that Jamieson was someone I wanted to keep working with, and he’s been a great co-worker & friend, so that’s been great. And everyone we have brought on along the way has not only been really talented but a lot of fun too. While some have gotten tense, a lot of production meetings have been filled with laughs and good times, and I’m sure as everything falls into place we’ll see more of that. I’ve always said of any show I’ve directed that I think what’s made it is having a great cast, not just in regards to talent but personality too, and I’m very happy that the same result has happened here.

Any good rehearsal anecdotes to share?

When you spend a lot of time around a small group of people, you naturally begin to let your guard down, and when you’re an artist that usually means you start to get a little weird… I couldn’t tell you how exactly it started, but for the longest time our 2nd act opening number was called “The Timbit Song” (now “Fear City”). It came about somehow when we were discussing the potential issues of a Canadian show in a US venue, and I know that we had the music down but not the lyrics. Jamieson started improvising about what the character Ronnie could sing and (brilliantly) came up with “What’s a timbit? I want a timbit! Have a timbit, what’s a fucking timbit?” and for whatever ridiculous reason that stuck so long that we now have many very formal, serious looking correspondence talking about the “Timbit Song”.

Why should people come and see the show?

This really is a unique production. The show itself is unlike any other musical I’ve seen, and it’s a lot of fun to watch. We’ve got a really talented cast & crew of young Canadian artists, and our band is made up of some very experienced (Broadway-level) NYC musicians.

How can people help support the project?

If you’re in NYC August 26th-30th, come see the show! Tickets can be purchased online. And if you can’t make it out to see it live, you can still help support the show by making a donation – every little bit helps!