BWW Interviews: KIM THORNTON NYGREN Takes On The Friday Five

BWW Interviews: KIM THORNTON NYGREN Takes On The Friday Five

Inspired by's Friday Six, welcome to's latest installment of The Friday Five: five questions designed to help you learn more about the talented people you'll find on stages in the Volunteer State.

Today the spotlight falls on Kim Thorton Nygren, who just recently ended a critically acclaimed run in Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre's Dixie Swim Club, in which she played the randy, sexy Lexie. Kim's a fixture at ye olde dinner barn-not only because of her onstage performances in such shows as Rumors and 'Til Beth Do Us Part-but also because she works in the venerable venue's box office, dealing with audience members, inquisitive callers and the occasional errant door-to-door salesman. In fact, she's so much a part of Chaffin's Barn that it's hard to imagine one without the other.

So read on, gentlepeople, and get to know more about Kim Thornton Nygren and address her with respect and affection the next time you call her at the box office to demand the very best seat in the house!

What was your first "live onstage" taste of theater? In kindergarten, my cousin who was in the first grade and I played twin doves in the Christmas play at school.  The night of the show, we sang our few lines. I did not think the lamb, the donkey or the camel sang their songs well enough, so when it came time for them to sing, I "helped" them. Loudly.  And was escorted from the stage.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? I always take a moment to give thanks before I go on for being able to still do what I love. Of course I've had more traditional jobs as well, but I've continued to work as a performing artist for 31 years.  That's certainly something for which to be thankful!

What is your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? I was playing Claire in Rumors at Chaffin's Barn in September of 2001. We had a specially scheduled matinee on Tuesday, September 11. The show was scheduled to start at noon. We were all crowded in THE OFFICE around a tiny television trying to see what was happening around the country.  This was before everyone had cell phones, least of all starving actors, so we took turns calling our loved ones from the phone in the hallway. No one had any idea what the extent of the terrorist attacks would be that day. Since our audience was a group of senior citizens traveling from West Tennessee, and we knew they had been on the road when the terrorist attacks occurred and had no idea what was going on, John decided to give them a good laugh before they were faced with the reality of what was happening.  I was never more proud of a group of actors holding it together and being incredibly professional. To this day, more than 10 years later, most of the cast, Bobby Wyckoff, Richard Daniel, Kelly Lapczynski, Joseph Collins, Lydia Bushfield, Juli Ragsdale and Derek Whittaker keeps in touch in some way on that day. Our dear friend, Carter Thrower, passed away late last year, but he'll forever be a part of that 9/11/01 Rumors cast.

What¹s your dream role?
 I have a few.  I got to play Bunny The House of Blue Leaves in college and would love the chance to play her again now that I'm age appropriate. The same can be said for Dr. Livingston in Agnes of God, though no one does that play anymore, sadly. I'd also really love to play Lily in The Secret Garden.

Who¹s your theatrical crush? Hugh Jackman-and not for the obvious (hello, pecs and abs!), but because he is incredibly talented and versatile. Locally, it has to be David Compton.  But that is for the pecs and abs.

pictured: Kim Thornton Nygren with Daron Bruce

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor outstanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.


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