Menu
Bella: An American Tall Tale image 1

Kirsten Childs

Playwrights Horizons: The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin. Her other musicals include Miracle Brothers (Vineyard Theatre), Fly (with Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman), and Funked Up Fairy Tales. For her work she has received Obie, Kleban, Larson, Richard Rodgers, Audelco, and Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla awards, as well as Lortel and Drama Desk nominations. She recently collaborated with Charlayne Woodard on the musical Grace for Inner Voices: Solo Musicals. Kirsten has written for Disney Theatricals, the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, the New Electric Company, Works and Process at the Guggenheim Museum and City Center Encores! She is a professor in NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, a member of both the Dramatists Guild Council and the Dramatists Guild Fund, and is proud to be a mentor in Theatre Development Fund’s Open Doors program.

(as of 4/4/17)

Photo by Zack DeZon

Reviews

Interview

In Process: Kirsten Childs on Bella

The writer and mythical mind behind ‘Bella: An American Tall Tale’ gives us the scoop on how the big-booty Tupelo gal was born, and why it's so important to see characters like Bella.

Playwrights' Perspectives

Playwright's Perspective: Bella

This musical is the result of something I experienced while coming home to my apartment one bright, sunny day. A young African American couple was ahead of me, walking in the same direction. The woman was short and voluptuous, her most outstanding feature her gloriously shaped Venus Hottentot behind (Google it on your iPhone). As I walked behind the couple, the most amazing thing happened.

Essay

From the Artistic Director: Bella

Not everyone loves musicals. Tell some theater-goers you are doing a musical, and they’ll reply automatically, “I don’t like musicals,” kind of like in La La Land when Emma Stone’s character shrugs, “I don’t like jazz.” I get it.

Essay

The American Voice: Reclaiming the Myth

A very personal search for identity wrapped in traditional musical comedy structure, the piece plays fast and funny, drawing on musical idioms that span the American canon, including musical theater, jazz, and ’60s-infused R&B. Bubbly Black Girl takes to heart the old adage “write what you know.” Kirsten explores just what it means to be a musical theater writer, as well as how her own search for identity might have larger meaning.