Hannah Elless And Mykal Kilgore Stop by WHY I'LL NEVER MAKE IT Podcast
Broadway performers Mykal Kilgore (MOTOWN, HAIR) and Hannah Elless (BRIGHT STAR, GODSPELL) join host Patrick Oliver Jones for a bit of a reunion to reminisce on THE STAR CHILD, their first musical reading together as well as the star-filled creative journeys they've had since then, from BRIGHT STAR to JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR.
Earlier this year Kilgore was nominated for an NAACP Image Award as Outstanding New Artist for his debut album "A Man Born Black" and his mentor Billy Porter was also nominated for Entertainer of the Year. Kilgore shares the story of meeting Porter for the first time, auditioning for FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE at Casa Mañana. Since then, they have kept in touch as Kilgore continues to learn from the man he calls his "personal hero, musical icon and everything wizard."
Elless joined the podcast from Florida where she was in the midst of a new, world premiere musical. Ahrens & Flaherty's KNOXVILLE was to have opened last month at Asolo Repertory and co-star Jason Danieley, but is on hold for now as much of the theater world figures out when and how to reopen again. Despite that postponement, it is new work like this that drives her much more than just doing another piece of classic theater.
However, both of them open up about their Broadway revival debuts. While grateful, they felt underwhelmed by the experience and came to realize that Broadway itself isn't enough. There has to be more to life and performing than an address in midtown Manhattan. While their follow-up performances in BRIGHT STAR and MOTOWN offered more to them, Elless and Kilgore have since found ways to create, produce, and branch out beyond the confines of theater.
When Kilgore realized no one was writing the kind of roles he wanted, that prompted him to start work on his own debut album. He found that creativity and purpose can come from many places whether it be on stage, in the recording booth, or in political activism. Elless has also gone into movies and television, like directing and starring in "Nora Ephron Goes To Prison." And even though known for her voice, she does as many new plays as she does musicals.
Ultimately, they find both joy and success in being able to say "yes" to projects that inspire them, which have been in short supply since COVID-19. But these two are ready and waiting at the starting line when productions gets the green light again.
Listen to their podcast episode here.
Why I'll Never Make It is a weekly podcast hosted by actor Patrick Oliver Jones and features conversations with fellow creatives about the realities of a career in the arts. With the Broadway season ended and Tony Awards canceled, the podcast is taking a look back at previous Broadway productions. Kilgore and Elless are the third in a month-long focus on the artists who made those shows happen, with varying degrees of success. Past guests on the show include Joey Fatone (RENT), Caitlin Kinnunen (THE PROM), and Dena Hammerstein (Producer and Founder of Only Make Believe). Find these episodes and more at whyillnevermakeit.com.
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