I love birthdays. I always have. I know plenty of people say birthdays are always a source of anxiety or stress, but if anything, my birthday tends to calm my anxiety rather than trigger it. While I’m always a little skittish at being the center of attention, there’s something really nice about your friends and family reminding you that they do, in fact, love you the same way that you love them. I dunno! “Nice” is the word for it.

Here’s an actual real-life picture of me as a toddler getting hit in the face with a ball.

Earlier today, at 2:25pm on Thursday, May 27th, 2021, I officially turned 27. It’s what they call my “golden birthday,”…


The following piece was published in the program for the 2018 world premiere production of The Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular! (directed and written by Paul Conroy).

Caty Bergmark, Emily Whitley, and Zafyre Sexton in Out Front Theatre Company’s 2018 world premiere production of THE ETHEL MERMAN DISCO CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR! (Tyler Ogburn Photography).

“Always give them the old fire,
even when you feel like a squashed cake of ice.”
— Ethel Merman

There was nobody quite like her. With her piercing belt, perfect pitch, and sharp diction, Ethel Merman could be heard all the way to the back of the house over any orchestra in show business. Her name alone is iconic, her voice practically the stuff of parody, but even with her indisputable legacy, it…


(Awards are silly — and awards decided on by one person who keeps it all on an Excel document are even sillier! — but I’m choosing to embrace the activities that keep me from succumbing to the ol’ existential despair. More than the pageantry of awards or the stats of who wins and who loses, I love good stories, and I love when the artistry that made those stories gets recognition. Thank you for humoring me.)

The posters for my ten favorite films of the year (in alphabetical order).

Well! We survived. There have been a lot of difficult years in our lifetimes, but it’s pretty indisputable that 2020 was pretty capital-B Bad…


It’s the start of a new year, which calls for one of my favorite annual traditions: listing my ten favorite new-to-me movies I watched last year!

I’ve been following the same set of rules for this kind of thing for the last few years: I’ll choose ten favorites, ranked as best as I can, and then list some honorable mentions. The movies can be from any year except the year that just wrapped up (2020) or the year that came before (2019).

All ten of these movies are fascinating and beautiful and well worth your time, so consider this an…


I wish I could remember why, but in late 2015, for some reason, I was struck with the sudden urge to create a list — as I am wont to do — of the artists who helped make that year bearable for me. This list, which I posted purely for the amusement of my internet friends on my Tumblr, included artists of any discipline as disparate as filmmaker George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), playwright Ayad Akhtar (Disgraced), and actor Mya Taylor (Tangerine). I even included Tasty, that Facebook page with the endless stream of…


The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition

The following piece was written for the program for the Alliance Theatre’s 2020 world premiere production of 53% Of (directed by Candis C. Jones; written by Steph Del Rosso; scheduled for March 28th through April 19th, 2020, on the Hertz Stage, Atlanta, GA). The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevented the production from opening.

Inside the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, there’s a hallway featuring four of Michelangelo’s unfinished marble sculptures. Collectively known as the Prisoners, these figures with their muscles straining and their bodies contorting seem to be writhing to free themselves from the marble. They…


The following piece was published in the program for the Alliance Theatre’s 2020 production of Maybe Happy Ending (directed by Michael Arden; music, book, and lyrics by Will Aronson and Hue Park; January 21st to February 16th, 2020 on the Coca-Cola Stage, Atlanta, GA).

“Jazz is music made by and for people who have chosen to feel good in spite of conditions.”
Johnny Griffin

Kenny Tran (“Oliver”) and Cathy Ang (“Claire”) in the Alliance Theatre’s production of MAYBE HAPPY ENDING (photo by Greg Mooney).

Oliver, the Helperbot 3 at the heart of Maybe Happy Ending, is obsessed with jazz. He naturally has his favorite artists and recordings, as well as a subscription to a monthly jazz magazine. He even gives…


The following piece was written as a supplemental dramaturgy packet for the actors, designers, and creative team who worked on Synchronicity Theatre’s 2019 production of Mac/Beth (adapted by Erica Schmidt; directed by Jennifer Alice Acker; October 4th to October 27th; Atlanta, GA).

The cast of Synchronicity Theatre’s MAC/BETH. Left to right: Shannon McCarren, Anna Williford, Emily Nedvidek, Antonia LaChé, Abby Holland, Jasmine Thomas, and Ash Anderson. Photo by Jerry Siegel.

“Be not afraid of greatness”: On Erica Schmidt

Erica Schmidt is a successful director and playwright. After graduating from Vassar College and working for a time as a costume designer at Juilliard, Schmidt made her directorial debut with a six-actor production of As You Like It in 2000. After winning the Princess Grace Award in 2001 (a grant…


The following piece was published in the program for the Aurora AppCo Alumni Series’ 2017 production of A New Brain (directed by Patrick Schweigert; music direction by Daniel Hilton; music and lyrics by William Finn; book by William Finn and James Lapine).

“In these dangerous times, where it seems the world is ripping apart at the seams, we can all learn how to survive from those who stare death squarely in the face every day.” — Jonathan Larson

From left to right, clockwise: actor/musicians Laura Spears, Abi Sneathen, Hayden Rowe, Ashley Prince, and Elliott Folds in the 2017 Aurora AppCo Alumni Series production of A NEW BRAIN (Casey Gardner Photography).

Three weeks after composer William Finn won two Tony Awards, he collapsed while crossing 45th Street and began, for better or worse…


The following piece was written for a 2016 production of Godspell independently produced by students at Kennesaw State University. The production was directed by Tad Cameron. Godspell has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, additional music by Peggy Gordon and Jay Hamburger, and a book by John-Michael Tebelak.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

When John-Michael Tebelak initially conceived and wrote Godspell, he hoped it would be used as a tool to bring an invigorating spiritual experience to the masses. In 1970, when he attended an Easter Vigil at a cathedral…

Elliott Folds

Atlanta-based freelance actor, dramaturg, and musician. Sometimes I watch movies. Hoping to use this as a place where my dramaturgical notes can live.

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