Kristine Nielsen Joins Maxine Linehan and Kelly McAndrew in the Dorset Theatre Festival

The festival runs June 21 through September 7, 2024 at the Dorset Playhouse.

By: Apr. 10, 2024
Kristine Nielsen Joins Maxine Linehan and Kelly McAndrew in the Dorset Theatre Festival
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 Dorset Theatre Festival has announced full casting for The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh and Sidekicked by Kim Powers in their upcoming 2024 Main Stage season, scheduled from June 21 through September 7, 2024 at the Dorset Playhouse (104 Cheney Rd, Dorset, VT 05251). 

“We have more exciting announcements coming soon, but we just couldn’t sit on this news any longer. We are honored by the artists coming together for the upcoming season, and we can’t wait to wow audiences with everything we have in store,” said Will Rucker, Dorset Theatre Festival’s executive artistic director.

Kristine Nielsen, playing Mag, and Maxine Linehan, playing Maureen, will star as mother and daughter in the international award-winning hit play, The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Academy Award-winner Martin McDonagh, directed by Dorset’s resident playwright, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award Nominee Theresa Rebeck.

Kristine Nielsen returns to Dorset after starring in the Festival’s 2016 World Premiere of The Way of the World by Theresa Rebeck. Nielsen is currently featured in HBO’s award-winning show, The Gilded Age as Mrs. Bauer. She was nominated for the 2013 Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance as Sonia in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and the 2019 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus. 

Maxine Linehan is an Irish and American singer-songwriter and internationally known actress and recording artist. Linehan played the Nurse in the first U.S. tour of Bartlett Sher's Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific, and starred in the Alloy Theater Company’s NYC productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber's song cycle Tell Me on a Sunday, Jacqueline McCarrick's The Mushroom Pickers, and the off-Broadway production of William Luce's Brontë: A Portrait of Charlotte. Linehan has recorded two live and two studio albums and is known for her touring solo concerts including One: The Songs of U2, Maxine Linehan: An American Journey, What Would Petula Do?, and This Time of Year.

“I’m so excited to be making my Dorset Theatre Festival debut and to show another side of myself as an artist, a side that has been in retirement for a few years,” said Maxine Linehan.

“I'm so thrilled to be exploring this brilliant play with the great Kristine Nielsen and with Maxine Linehan, who herself hails from Connemara. She's already teaching us all about what life in the wilds of the Irish coast is really like," said Theresa Rebeck, director.

The cast will also include David Mason playing Pato, whose previous Dorset credits include Table Manners (2016) and the World Premieres of Dig by Theresa Rebeck (2019) and Thirst by Ronán Noone (2022). His Off-Broadway credits include Rebeck's Dig (Primary Stages) and Seared, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel (MCC), as well as Trick or Treat (59E59). The role of Ray will be played by Eimhin FitzGerald Doherty. 

Dorset Theatre Festival has also announced that Broadway and television actress, Kelly McAndrew, will star as Vivian Vance in the one-woman tour-de-force play, Sidekicked by Kim Powers, about the actress behind the housecoat-wearing Ethel Mertz, perpetual sidekick to the one and only Lucille Ball. McAndrew returns to Dorset after her critically acclaimed portrayal of Annie Wilkes in the 2023 production of Stephen King’s Misery. McAndrew has been seen on and off Broadway and featured in television shows like House of Cards, New Amsterdam, Gossip Girl, and Orange is the New Black. 

“Ethel Mertz has always been one of my favorite TV characters, and I’m so excited for two of my very favorite theater artists, Kelly McAndrew and Jackson Gay, to introduce us all to another side of the American icon who played her,” said Will Rucker, executive artistic director.

“You'll hear a lot of the backstage stories about how the beloved series came to be, and about what Vivian really thought about her co-stars Lucille, Desi and Bill Frawley, but you'll also walk away with so much more. Like how a little girl with a horrible childhood only came alive on stage, and how a life-changing nervous breakdown almost kept her from it, forever. The things so few have ever known about the real Vivian Vance,” said Kim Powers, playwright.

Casting for the remaining shows, Native Gardens and the World Premiere of True Art, will be announced at a later date. More information is available on Dorset’s website,


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