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Reviews and whatnot.

We've been enjoying an epic run at The Montalban in Hollywood! Reviews have been great. This cast and crew are a dream come true and I'm so honored to be part of this beautiful production! Also - click the button to see our spot on KTLA! 

"Kayla Parker dazzles as the young Ruby Keeler. Her dance duet with Julian DeGuzman to ‘You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me' is a highlight."
- Rob Stevens, Haines His Way

"The cast for this show, under the direction and choreography of Kay Cole, was uniformly excellent... Parker’s Keeler was great — a singing and dancing powerhouse. Just a delight to watch in numbers like 'A Cup of Coffee' or 'You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me'."
- Observations Along The Road

"Kayla Parker taps her little heart out as Ruby Keeler."
- Gardena Valley News

"With musical direction by Gerald Sternbach, there are fun production numbers with 'famous' singers including 'About a Quarter to Nine,' sung by Justin Michael Wilcox as Al Jolson with Kayla Parker as Ruby Keeler. Wilcox’s Jolson is a self-centered egocentric man always seeking the spotlight, contrasted by a very sweet, understanding Keeler. "
- LA West Media

"The famous personalities that populate Dubin's world are also brought to life by a group of dynamic entertainers. Kayla Parker is a breath of fresh air as Ruby Keeler, the tap dancing starlet who married Al Jolson, played by Justin Michael Wilcox. "
- Broadway World

"Kayla Parker channeled Ruby Keeler’s sincerity and winning personality."
- The International Review of Music

"Parker’s lithe and graceful Ruby, Wilcox’s pitch-perfect Jolson, Rock’s fleet-footed Cab, Marino’s firecracker of a Carmen, and Pieranunzi’s charismatic Busby are all fabulous, as is Valerie Perri, whether as icy Jewish mom, Broadway hoofer, or vocal stunner."
- StageScene LA

"The action drags along from New York to Hollywood where we get the piece de resistance, the showcases of Cab Calloway (splendiferous Elijah Rock), Ruby Keeler (adorable Kayla Parker), Al Jolson (remarkable impression by Justin Michael Wilcox), and Carmen Miranda (a knockout Renee Marino) with tough movie director Busby Berkeley (Robert Pieranunzi) leading the pack. It's these musical numbers that bring the show to life and give it its fine entertainment value. Every one of these performers do dynamite work."
- Don Grigware

 

Passing it down.

We started rehearsals for Carrie at La Mirada a year ago. It blows my damn mind. 

 
Oh, look at us. 

Oh, look at us. 

 

Over the past couple of weeks I've been thinking a lot about my inspirations, my initial gut reactions to the theatre and what sucked me in. I remember having a family in community theatre. I remember exactly who I looked up to and why I wanted to be like them. I remember studying the Mama Rose, The Giant and the Sweeney Todd. It was an electric time of my life. It was a place where anything was possible and everything was attainable. You begin to build up this courage and sense of awareness. You realize that you have a power in you and you feel like you're on top of the world. And you just fucking love what you do. You're staying at the lodge until 2 in the morning blocking a scene and assisting the crew in putting the finishing touches on the sets and costumes. You're not getting paid, you're not networking, you're not necessarily "moving up" in the world... you just whole-heartedly love what you do.

I miss it.

It was during this time, in middle school and high school, that I truly began my journey in discovering who I was and what I wanted to do in life. It was simple. It was SO simple. And sure, no production is complete without a little drama. The director's daughter got the lead. The adults were getting plastered in the dressing rooms. We had two full dance numbers to choreograph and the curtain was going up in an hour. But instead of sparking world wars and turning people against each other, it did the exact opposite. It brought everyone together in the most epic of ways. The shit that went down in community theatre became the fondest memories I have of being a performer. You know that if you could get through this absurdity, you could get through anything. I keep this close to my heart.

Grease was a crazy one. I remember watching the film on repeat as a kid and thinking to myself, "I want to do THAT." There were no other options. And 20 or so years down the line, I was walking in between cameras with a giant silver curler hat thing-ama-bobber on my head, staring across the room at Didi Conn, who started tearing up at the sight of all of these "drop-outs." It was magical. And it made me so proud. We gotta keep passing it down. 

 
 

Some other Carrie cast members and I visited a school doing a student production of Carrie. We sat in on their rehearsal and enjoyed the ride. It was thrilling. It hit me across the face. I miss this mindset. I miss this passion and energy and courage. I want more of it back in my life.