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  • Writer's pictureCeslie Parker-Waller

Where In The World Is Ceslie Parker-Waller?

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

Hello everyone! Long time, no see... or is it read?


I realize it has been a while since I have made a blog post about current events in my career. From working over in Kentucky to Missouri to my old laptop heaving its last breath, I have been quite busy. I figured it's time for a quick recap to reflect on the last half of 2022 and for what to look forward to the rest of 2023!


The Spongebob Musical

Ah, yes. Bikini Bottom. The fantastical undersea world of my childhood and a comfort background show I put on while doing work. After attending SETC, I accepted the offer to portray Mrs. Puff and other ensemble roles in the production at Mountain Movers Theatre Company. From June to the beginning of July 2022, I traveled over to eastern Kentucky to the small, charming town of Louisa to work with MOMO and met a lovely group of people. I fell in love with the town and local businesses as well as the locals that I was lucky to meet and befriend. This show was a great relief after doing such a heavy show (all the love to you, Rent). Getting to play a comedic alcoholic who should probably lay off the Kelp Juice was so fun and getting to see the audiences enjoy themselves and dance around was thrilling. I can only imagine how a little Ceslie would have reacted to seeing this show and all her favorite characters in-person.


Merrymaking

After returning to my home base in Kansas City (Go Chiefs!), I traveled over

to Macon, MO to act in a play that was being produced through the new works program at Maples Repertory Theatre. I really enjoy getting to originate roles and workshop shows because I get to immerse myself in the character(s) and fully understand and help build the world around them.

The idea of my name being printed under the world premiere section at the front of the printed version is also an exciting plus to me. I celebrated Christmas in August and explored my two different characters: Alice the lost, trying-to-find herself, deceased teen and Detective Harris, a lesbian officer who offers her help to the family yet looks eerily similar to the aforementioned victim. We put on this production within a couple of days and performed in front of audiences to receive feedback on the show and the workshopping program itself. I was grateful to breathe life (I had to make that joke, I'm so sorry) to Alice and play around with Det. Harris and cannot wait to see the future of this beautiful show.


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Come October and the official start of spooky season, I was honored to return to MOMO and bring this famous tale to life. As one of the members of the ensemble, I got to take on a lot of roles and further work on how to differentiate each separate character. It had been a while since I had worked in a show with language that was not so modern, but once I understood the flow (and the words themselves), the storytelling and handful of comedic moments really shone through.

The biggest event that happened during this production (other than falling off the newly raised stage the first night of tech and spraining my ankle) was when one of the actors could not go on due to COVID. The rest of us immediately set to work to learn her track and worked with our director to figure out who could do what without looking like our pumpkins heads were sliced off. I was really proud of myself because I understudied during Rent, but never had the opportunity to go onstage for Mimi during that run. For this show though, I had a couple days to prepare for my newly updated track with the added roles/lines I had to cover. If I ever needed an event to smack me across the face and tell me to never doubt my abilities again, this was it... and yes, I did just that! Opening weekend went without a hitch and later that week, we adjusted the rest of the run to help adjust adding the actor back in. I remain grateful for the entire experience as I had the opportunity to see my professionalism actualize and see my trust in myself as a professional actor grow.


When I'm Gone

You thought I was done with Louisa? Well, I hope you didn't bet any money on that because I not only returned to MOMO to workshop this show twice, but also to put on the full production from New Years Eve to mid-January of 2023. Before I took off to Macon to do the staged reading of Merrymaking, the cast and crew and playwright all met on Zoom to read through the script and talk through the show and its characters. Then before rehearsals for Sleepy Hollow began, I went to KY a week early and we workshopped it in-person for a week to further develop the show and construct the final draft. I finally returned in the beginning of December and off we went with staging and fully producing the show.

As I talked about earlier, I really do enjoy seeing the development of new works and working together to make the show into something really beautiful. This story, based on the night Ralph Stanley met Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs over in Fort Gay, West Virginia, was an absolutely fulfilling production to be a part of. I heavily relate to Reinette, the character I portrayed, and had to navigate how to stay true to a character while also not pushing myself too far into method acting and unhealthily using my own painful experiences to do portray her. The themes of this show ran deep and every night the audience was enraptured by it and let us know afterward how affected they were by it. To have been a part of this spectacular production and work with such talented actors and playwright and band and producing team, I am still in awe that it happened and will actually happen again (wink, wink). The beautiful bluegrass music that the talented band brought each night was also something that changed me in that I may or may not have added a song (or ten) from this show to my spotify playlists.


So What's Next?

As I am writing this, I am blessed to have three productions lined up for the year of 2023-

This April I will be traveling to Clintwood, Virginia to visit the Ralph Stanley Memorial and perform as Reinette again in When I'm Gone at a theater nearby.


Then for June to September, I will be a swing for the musical Dreamgirls here in Kansas City at The New Theatre & Restaurant.


After that, I will be returning to MOMO in Louisa, KY to be Chiffon in Little Shop of Horrors for the Halloween season.


I am thrilled to have a great lineup of productions and grateful to continue on my journey of acting professionally. I have a lot of goals that I have set for myself in regards to expanding my work these next few years, including gaining more experience with acting on camera. Don't worry! I do not plan on leaving the stage anytime soon, but I have been really interested in continuing the pursuit of working in film/television since taking an acting on film class back at K-State.


Thank you for reading this update and following along on my journey! Don't stay a stranger. (-:

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