Meet the Cast of Fun Home: Behind the Curtain with Kelly Davis

Meet the Cast of Fun Home: Behind the Curtain with Kelly Davis

Kelly Davis plays Helen Bechdel in Fun Home.

Kelly is so proud to be making her debut with the Proud Mary Theatre Company!  

A recent transplant from New York City, Kelly has worked at the Milltown Players (Pump Boys & Dinettes, Seussical), Centre Stage (Red Herring), the Greenville Chorale (Alto II) and is a teaching artist with the Warehouse Theatre and SmartARTS program in Greenville.  

Kelly holds a BFA in Acting with a minor in Musical Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College and studied Shakespeare and classical theatre at the British American Dramatic Academy in London.  New York Theatre Credits include: The Crucible (Abigail), Six Degrees of Separation (Tess), Children of Eden (Aysha), King Lear (Gloucester) and the title role in Cymbelline.  

When not on stage, Kelly teaches yoga and manages the family business Palmetto State Solar.  She wishes to thank her amazingly supportive husband, Aaron and 3 fur children: Cheeky, Gizmo, and Orlando Fernando.

What attracted you to this role? To this musical?
Helen is the role of a lifetime.  She is based on a real character with juicy scenes and has an “11:00 number”!  I also feel that Fun Home is a unique musical and sheds light on some topics that aren’t traditionally discussed in the theatre.  This makes it so very important to produce in this day and age.

What was your familiarity with FUN HOME?
Prior to auditions, I had only heard Ring of Keys.  I didn’t realize there was a role for me!  When I got a call back for Helen, I listened to the original recording and was immediately hooked.

Have you read the memoir was based on?
I am in the middle of it!

What can you tell us about your character?
I play Allison’s mom, Helen.  Helen Bechdel was a real person who lived from 1933-2013.  She was married to Bruce and had 3 children.  Helen tries her best to keep up appearances and tend to her family, however Bruce’s unpredictable rage takes its toll on her.  Helen finds solace in acting and doing plays.  The real Helen Bechdel was very active in local theatre as a performer and costumer.  

What are some of the more interesting things you have discovered or done in the rehearsal process?
We had a theatrical intimacy coach come to rehearsal.  She taught us some ways to connect physically with one another in ways that respected our boundaries.  This is an important tool that I will continue to use going forward.  

What is the most challenging part about your role or songs?
The music is so very moving, and I am often overcome with emotion when I’m trying to sing!  I’ve had to keep singing my song (Days) over and over to try and desensitize myself, but I tend to get choked up at a different point each night, which makes it difficult to get the notes out!

What have you learned about yourself from playing this role?

This is one of my first musicals in about a decade.  As a result, I am emerging as an actress in a totally new type than I was before.  I have spent most of my life as an alto, but I have discovered that my voice has matured and I am able to sing a more legit style soprano.  Approaching this role, I have been able to identify what warmup routines (vocally, physically and emotionally) that get me to the place I need to be for the show.

What do you hope patrons will take away from their Fun Home experience?

I hope that patrons will be swept up in the story and take this journey with us.  There will be moments of laughter and possibly tears!  

What other talents have you summoned to play this part?

I have summoned my piano knowledge from when I was a kid.  I took lessons when I was little and then stopped when I was about 13.  It has been very rewarding to play a little bit for this show.  


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