Get to know Julie Kiser!
Julie has shared her passion for all things theatrical with Limelight for years. Whether you know her as “Mrs. K” the instructor, or the lady who looks way too excited to be crunching up carrots and celery to create the sound of breaking bones, her dedication and attention to detail can’t be beat!
We asked her a few questions, and here is what she had to say…
Briefly list your education/experience in theater:
I started with the Stagecoach Players in Madison, Wisconsin when I was 11 years old; an organization very similar to Limelight. In high school, I was president of the makeup department, participated in the musicals, Minnesingers, any theatre class offered, and if there was a play, I tried to be in it. But I did not focus on drama in college.
I rediscovered theatre when my daughter joined Limelight as a grade school student and I will never leave it again. I started as a parent volunteer – for everything, (costume designers told me to go paint something). I have my teaching certificate and eventually Limelight asked me to teach acting fundamentals.
Since 2009, I have been in countless productions, painted some challenging sets, taught a wealth of classes, took on a personal goal to boost the sound effects of our radio plays, contributed to original productions, and directed both radio and mainstage productions that ended up being some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Most Limelighters know I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to our annual Halloween radio show SFX. The writers have already got me thinking about claw sounds for fall of 2018. Bwa, ha, ha!
My ongoing education in theatre has included a directing class and numerous writing classes with Limelight, and various voice-over classes with Acting Studio Chicago. I hope to take more classes with ASC, (one that helps with character voices for video games as well as another voice-over class), and maybe someday, finish my demo.
What are you most excited about sharing with Limelight participants?
- Helping them discover something new they didn’t know they could do. Watching their confidence grow.
- There are so many careers that use performing arts skills and so many more options for the artist these days. If it inspires you that way, do what you love. You will find your niche.
What do you like most about theater?
I get to pretend with other people, who like to pretend in front of a live audience, that really wants to enjoy our pretending. Theatre is a wonderful outlet for sharing creative energy with other people and I love the immediate feedback from the live audience. I take tremendous pride in what we create year after year at LTC. In whatever capacity my involvement, the thrill we all get from creating something uniquely ours is hard to describe to others. Also, I think of myself as a character actress so the more bizarre the project is, the more fun I have.
Which Limelight productions have you been a part of?
There really are way too many to list. This last year, I directed 101 Dalmatians during the summer, and I was on the writing team, and designed the SFX for, our Halloween radio show -Whitechapel (researching that one gave me nightmares). I also directed It’s a Wonderful Life this last December. I had a blast performing in Don’t Drink the Water last month with a super professional and fun cast. I just finished teaching the Dialect Studio, and soon I will be set-painting for the summer.
Share a memory from your time as a Limelight participant.
Each time I write down one memory, I think of another and start this over. In 2013, I got to perform in Macbeth as Hecate. I got to dye my hair blue with fire accents and wear super crazy makeup. Another cast member taught me how to use a bullwhip – for real. It took me a month. I walked out on this raised flat and snapped the whip over the heads of the other witches on stage and made an ear-popping crack. It was AWESOME!
What is your dream role?
I love physical comedy which I got to do in Don’t Drink the Water. I think the next two items on my bucket list are: 1. being the unexpected villain in a suspense thriller and 2. Creating a unique voice for an interesting character in a video game. Maybe I could combine the two?
What game or movie universe would you most like to live in?
Wonder Woman, of course… but I probably wouldn’t leave the island.