Festival Alumni in the News

Members in the News

Kirsten Childs Thinks Big

Kirsten Childs, a Festival alumna for The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Fest ’98) and Funked Up Fairy Tales (Fest ’12), is well known for her imaginative stories, and her latest musical certainly lives up to that reputation. Supported by a production grant from the National Fund for New Musicals, Childs’ Bella: An American Tall Tale had its world premiere at NAMT member Dallas Theater Center, and the production is now playing in New York at member theatre Playwrights Horizons. American Theatre recently published a feature on Childs, her latest production and her views on the theatre.

“The musical theatre form can lift you to such a wonderful place,” Childs testifies. “And it’s my personal and political goal to be uplifting, without needing to give people rose-colored glasses, without needing to let the truth be swept under the carpet, and without pretending that awful things don’t exist.”

Read the full profile the American Theatre website. Interested in learning more about how the project came to be? Check out our interview with Childs’ from last year.

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This month, we chat with Kirsten Childs about her new show Bella: An American Tall Tale, which will receive its world premiere next season in a co-production with Dallas Theater Center and Playwrights Horizons. The production has just received a NFNM Production Grant. Childs is a Festival Alumna from her shows The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Fest ’98) and Funked Up Fairy Tales (Fest ’12).
How did the idea for Bella: An American Tall Tale first come to you?
I was walking home to my apartment one day, and a couple was walking in the same direction ahead of me.  Much to the appreciation of all the men (and I mean ALL the men) passing by, the woman had an extravagantly zaftig African fertility goddess figure.  I actually slowed down to watch each and every man stop, turn and look at the woman as they passed her by.  Their spellbound behavior underscored for me the fact that women are being sold a fraudulent bill of goods as to what men find attractive in a woman.  Right then and there, I decided to make a larger-than-life tall tale about a heroine modeled after this modern day Venus.  And what better place to set a larger-than-life tall tale than the American Old West?

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