About Thomas

Artistic Director of Waltzing Mechanics

Riding with Kevin Lambert

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Kevin Lambert to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Poop.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Deceased.
3. What turns you on?
My wife laughing so hard she can’t breathe.
4. What turns you off?
Turning your back on people on who need help.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Robust laughter.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
An over talkative coworker’s voice.  He sits five cubes away and speaks more than the radio.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Shit.  It goes great on its own or as a compound word.  I’m also a fan of using non-profanity as profanity.  Sometimes I say, “oh, snickerdoodles.”
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
College Guidance Counselor.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Mortician.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“I’m proud of you.  Come on in, several people have been waiting for you.”

 

KEVIN LAMBERT is thrilled to make his EL Stories debut.  He is a company member with Ka-Tet Theatre where he serves as their Company Coordinator and an ensemble member with The Ruckus.  Recent credits include Salt of the Earth, Fuddy Meers, and Lydie Breeze with Ka-Tet, and Little Triggers with The Ruckus.  He has also written a play about the scheming and backstage antics at a dinner theatre with jousting, a feast, and tons of over priced merchandise. And finally, he would like to thank his wonderful wife for her laughter when things aren’t funny, her support when it’s unearned, and her love when he doesn’t deserve it.

Riding with Molly Parchment

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Molly Parchment to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Oh Geeze, I guess I would say one of my favorite words is Amethyst. It’s my birthstone and it just has a really pretty ring to it. It also helps that Amethyst is also a very pretty color (not my favorite color-that would be yellow! Yellow is AWESOME and my jam but yellow isn’t a very cool word. But I digress).  I also really like the word Kerfuffle because it sounds hilarious.
2. What is your least favorite word?
That would be Chunk or Chunky. That word makes me think of vomit and also makes me want to vomit.
3. What turns you on?
My Husband ;) More specifically- someone who can make me laugh (and has super good cooking skills) i.e. My Husband
4. What turns you off?
Bad Teeth and Bad Breath! YUCK!
5. What sound or noise do you love?
This is going to sound weird but fart noises! Farts are hilarious and the sound they make is the best part. Even thinking about it makes me giggle. Sorry if that makes me a weirdo.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
When I am home alone and the house is quiet I hate when I hear creeks or other creepy noises in the apartment. Makes my mind wander and imagine a big scary dude breaking in and attempting to kill me. I hate it.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Um…I have never really thought about it before. I guess it would be the F-word. It’s probably my go to curse word.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
For a day I would like to attempt being a figure skater. But for that one day I would want to be super good! So good that I would never fall and I would win the gold medal at the Olympics. And the Olympics would be somewhere amazing like Ireland or Iceland or Italy. That would be awesome.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
A Garbage Truck lady. I respect what they do but I could never do it.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Welcome Molly Parchment. The Waffle Bar is to your left. We have prepared a mountain of whipped cream for you. Also, Ellen, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Idina Menzel are waiting for you. Would you like us to turn on the soundtrack from Frozen now or later?”

 

MOLLY PARCHMENT is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated with her B.F.A. in drama from the College-Conservatory of Music last April. At CCM, she performed in Arcadia (Hannah Jarvis), Coram Boy (Mrs. Milcote), Our Town (Mrs. Soames) and Transmigration: The Casablanca Complex (Becca Babbage). Other Cincinnati credits include Steel Magnolias (Shelby), Gods Favorite (Sara Benjamin) and Art of Murder (Kate). She recently performed in Theater-Hikes’ production of The Three Musketeers (Sabine) in Chicago this past summer. Molly can also be seen performing her one woman improv show The Orientation at local comedy clubs in Chicago. More info at http://theorientationemployeespot.blogspot.com/.

Riding with Brittany Stock

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Brittany Stock to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Onomatopoeia.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Turd.
3. What turns you on?
A clever sense of humor, stylish glasses, an artistic temperament, and a strong working knowledge of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
4. What turns you off?
Willful ignorance; a lack of consideration for others or themselves.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Early morning rumbly thunderstorms.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound of someone trying to talk to you when they are brushing their teeth – that weird “there is a whole lotta goo in the back of my mouth and I really should spit” sound.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Is anyone not going to say fuck? It’s classic, but I like an underdog, so I choose shit.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Yoga instructor. Also, I’d like to formally throw my name in the hat for Samantha Brown’s job.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Executioner. Or investment banker.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“No, I am not joking – you can come in. Skittles (my childhood cat) is right here!”

 

BRITTANY STOCK could not be happier to be part of the ensemble for EL Stories XIV! She recently worked with Forget Me Not Theatre Company on Charles Mee’s Time to Burn (Yelena). Other Chicago credits include The Barista (Marla) with Bard and Fool Theater Group, The Right Brain Project’s Timey Wimey Fantastic Brilliant Extravaganza Geronimo! (The Companion), and Underscore Theatre Company’s annual production of The Rocky Horror Show (Usherette/dance captain). Brittany holds a B.A. in theatre from Hope College, where she had the honor of performing at the national level of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in the original production of Rose and the Rime.

Riding with Laura Jewell

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Laura Jewell to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Supercilious.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Phlegm.
3. What turns you on?
The smell of old books.
4. What turns you off?
Sandwiches with too much mayonnaise.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Wind chimes.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Windshield wipers.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Twat!
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I think it would be really cool and fun to be a Kindergarten teacher. If I hadn’t gotten a theatre degree I probably would have studied education.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that involves being in an un-climate-controlled environment.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Yeah, we’re surprised you ended up here too.”

 

LAURA JEWELL graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a B.A. in theatre. She was most recently seen as Lydie Hickman in Ka-Tet Theatre Company’s production of Lydie Breeze. Previous favorite roles include Laura in The Glass Menagerieand Janet in The Rocky Horror Show. She would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support.

Riding with Bryan Campbell

We asked fellow Mechanic and EL Stories XIV director Bryan Campbell to take the famous Pivot questionnaire. Ride the train he built every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Oh so many. Rumpus is a fun word.
2. What is your least favorite word?
No. I hate hearing it, and I’m not a huge fan of saying it either.
3. What turns you on?
Blueberry Muffins and Pencil Skirts
4. What turns you off?
Cable news
5. What sound or noise do you love?
The opening thirty seconds of Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose”
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Constant, loud drilling
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck.  Also: Dipshit
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Rock Star, Professional Athlete, Secret Agent…. I don’t have reasonable goals.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Any profession that demands more of people for less than they deserve.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Ah, Mr. Campbell, right on time I see.  I trust you had a safe and enjoyable trip.”

 

BRYAN CAMPBELL has been a company member with the Waltzing Mechanics since their original “Red Line” edition of EL Stories and is thrilled to be making his directorial debut with the fourteenth edition. Bryan appeared onstage for the Waltzing Mechanics’ first primetime show, Over My Dead Body, and he is one of the creative leads for the upcoming Waltzing Mechanics project, Uptown. He holds a degree in acting from Ball State University. Bryan would like to thank his fellow company members for their continuing contributions to the ongoing EL Stories series, as well as his all-star cast for all of their dedication and hard work.  He also thanks his family and friends for their continued support, and Amy for her many words of wisdom.  Finally, he would like to thank you, the audience member, for your continued support of the arts.

Riding with Colin Hudson

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Colin Hudson to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
“Puppy”. Or maybe “love”. Not those two words together, though.
2. What is your least favorite word?
“Smegma”. Or maybe “mayonnaise.”
3. What turns you on?
Tattoos.
4. What turns you off?
Apathy.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Metal cleats walking on concrete.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Open Mouth Chewing.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. For the versatility.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Professional football player. Duh.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Parking Enforcement. That’d be the worst thing.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Hey Bud, I’ve missed you.”

 

COLIN HUDSON is ecstatic to be a part of EL Stories XIV. Hailing from Clearwater, Florida, Colin has called Chicago home for more than a year now. He has performed around town with Theatre Momentum and is currently taking classes at iO Theatre. Much love to the family.

Riding with Kayla Kennedy

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Kayla Kennedy to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Juxtaposition. I still remember the moment I learned that word in the 8th grade. Not only is it fun to say but you sound so smart when you use it correctly. PLUS it’s a great ten point word in essays… Or rather it was… I’m a GRADUATE! Huzzah!
2. What is your least favorite word?
The “C” word. It makes me cringe. No matter what.
3. What turns you on?
If you can make me laugh uncontrollably, I’m instantly attracted to you. A six-pack doesn’t hurt either.
4. What turns you off?
Extreme douche-baggery. It’s not all about you sometimes. Ya know?
5. What sound or noise do you love?
When I’m standing in my kitchen after dedicating the whole day to cleaning it, and I hear the dishwasher go through its cycle. The sound of the dishwasher just embodies my joy in finally having a clean kitchen. Though it won’t stay clean for long. Unfortunately.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
My brother’s jaw sometimes clicks when he eats. It gives me the heebie-jeebies. I have to leave the room.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Oh, the F word definitely. Especially “mother-f***er.” It’s just sooooo mother-f***ing satisfying.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Ok. I would LOVE to be a singer/song-writer à la Sara Bareilles. But, let’s be honest, I’m too lazy to learn the piano and I would waste all my energy trying to fit “juxtaposition” into my lyrics. I also really want to be an executive secretary/assistant to some hotshot CEO of some cool company. I am an organizational queen and I know I would rock that out.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Chemistry. Anything that involves chemistry, just count me out.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Glad you’re here. We’ve got Stella on tap.”

 

KAYLA KENNEDY is pleased as punch to be making her professional Chicago debut in EL Stories XIV. Other credits include Smoke on the Mountain (Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre), Spring Awakening and Lend Me a Tenor (Ball State University). She graduated from Ball State University last May with a B.F.A. in musical theatre and spent her first months as a graduate performing at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio. She returned to her home city to join this amazingly close-knit theatre community and is excited for what the future holds.

“EL Stories” opens the Illinois High School Theatre Festival

Waltzing Mechanics’ third annual edition of EL Stories: Holiday Train, called “a quirky gem” and recommended by the Chicago Reader, is proud to perform in the opening ceremonies of the 39th annual Illinois High School Theatre Festival (http://www.illinoistheatrefest.org/). Performances will bow at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 9, 2014 and 9:00 a.m. on Friday, January 10, 2014 at the CPA Theatre on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. Each show will be followed by a brief workshop with students and teachers detailing how the Waltzing Mechanics create their signature documentary productions from verbatim interviews.

Recognized as one of the top fringe shows by the Chicago Tribune, Waltzing Mechanics’ annual holiday edition of EL Stories celebrates (and laments?) one of the city’s most recognized institutions with an hour-long ride, featuring some of our favorite Yuletide public transit stories.  As always, audience members at each performance are invited to share an EL story of their own for a chance to have it played back during the performance or included in a future show.

EL Stories: Holiday Train is adapted from original interviews by Keely Leonard and directed by Zack Florent. The cast includes Jon Beal, Zach Bundy, Patrice Foster, Kyle Geissler, LaKecia Harris, Sarah Liken, Natalie Sallee, Tiffany Small, Thomas Sparks, and Lew Wallace. Production stage management is by Carinne Uslar assisted by J.D. Ostergaard.

Produced by the Illinois Theatre Association, the Illinois High School Theatre Festival (IHSTF) is the largest and oldest non-competitive high school theatre festival in the world. The three-day festival takes place every year in early January, and switches locations between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois State University. Over 4,000 students, teachers, university representatives, exhibitors, and volunteers come together to put on over 25 different high school productions and over 150 workshops.

EL Stories: Holiday Train will conclude its regular run at the Greenhouse Theater Center on Saturday, January 11 at 11:00 p.m. Waltzing Mechanics’ next edition of EL Stories, the fourteenth in the series, premieres Saturday, January 18 at 11:00 p.m. at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Tickets and information are at 773-404-7336 or waltzingmechanics.org.

Riding with Jaci Kay

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Jaci Kay to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through November 23rd.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word?
HELLO!
2. What is your least favorite word?
Hate. Or legitimately.
3. What turns you on?
Booty shakin’.
4. What turns you off?
Keg stands.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
The sound a Swiffer Jet pack makes.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Teeth biting down on silverware!!!!
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuckin’ fuck.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Life coaching.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Corrections officers.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“HELLO! Here’s a mimosa; the beach is that way!”

 

JACI KAY is a native of Miami, Florida! She moved to Chicago to attend Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she earned her B.F.A. in Acting. She has also begun to explore directing! Most recently, Jaci has been seen in a one-woman show in Chicago’s Abbie Fest XXV. She is so happy and grateful to join EL Stories! It is very important to her that we all have a way to share our stories. Thanks to her super supportive family and C.J.!

Riding with Luke Michael Grimes

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Luke Michael Grimes to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through November 23rd.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word?
My favorite word would have to be cryptic.
2. What is your least favorite word?
I like all the words.
3. What turns you on?
Talent, Ambition, Drive — basically anything that’s vital and of the moment.
4. What turns you off?
Arrogance, violence and rudeness.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sound the train makes when it’s going extremely fast underground. All that air rushing past — it fills up my head.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Sirens. I live on Belmont so I hear them all too often.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Ballz. (which isn’t a curse word but I use it as one at least 235 times a day)
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would love to be a lawyer. I don’t know how or why, but I think I’d be good at it. Am I right? I know I am.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
If I am ever in telemarketing…
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Oh, YOU’RE the one everyone’s been talking about.”

 

LUKE MICHAEL GRIMES has a B.F.A. in acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since moving to Chicago last December, notable credits include Teddy Ferrara at the Goodman Theatre, Aloha Say the Pretty Girls at the Heartland Studio, and The Emperor’s New Threads at Collaboraction. He is thrilled to be joining EL Stories XII with the Waltzing Mechanics.