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75th Anniversary: Alumni Profiles

Kristi Johnson '02

I graduated from Calvin in 2002 and worked for a few years as a nanny-helping to keep my household afloat financially. After a few years of working nearly 65 hours/week and having no time to continue in the arts in any capacity, I finally took steps to pursue my passion-performing. I auditioned and was accepted into the 2 Year Conservatory Program @ Act One Studios in Chicago. It was in this environment where I re-awakened my artistic passion, and was submersed in commercial technique, film technique, movement (Alexander, Viewpoints, Suzuki, Yoga, etc.), vocal training, the Meisner technique and so on. But, more importantly, I met and worked with so many incredible and talented directors, artists, and teachers in the industry... learning so much from their experiences, kindness, and brilliance.

I graduated from The Conservatory a little over a year ago, and have been working consistently since. I began working in the Chicago market with such innovative theatre companies as Urban Theatre Co. in Runaways and Adventure Stage Chicago in Eye of the Storm. These theatres focus on reaching out to the urban youth of the city-revealing the artistic outlet of theatre and performance. Next, I worked with the Goodman Theatre on staged readings: Spirits to Enforce and Magnolia. Even more exciting to me is the fact that I originated the role of Caroline Bryant in the world-premiere of The Ballad of Emmett Till at The Goodman Theatre. That opportunity has been proven to be invaluable to me, and has made me grow artistically in ways I never knew possible.

Since the Goodman show closed in early June 2008, I have worked on Golden Boy at the Black Ensemble Theatre, and shot a scene for the film The Man from Elsewhere. I am currently working as Dolly in The Three Penny Opera at The Steppenwolf Garage, as well as The Messenger (on old-school skates, no less) with fellow alumna Lise 'Kat' Evans. Once Three Penny closes I will begin rehearsals on a stage adaptation of Holes as Kissin' Kate Barlow (and others) at the Adventure Stage Chicago. Followed by an early winter production of Touch as Serena with New Leaf Theatre.

Advice for students:

Being an artist, at any capacity, is a challenge... for many reasons. No matter how business savvy... or knowledgeable you may be in seeking what you want... if you don't have the FAITH in yourself, your ability, and your intuition knowing that you are right where you're supposed to be (listening to God's voice)... then all tasks will seem too daunting... and you will seek out alternative "careers." Always find ways to remind yourself you're right where you should be, so that you may live in the joy that you are an incredible and unique creation... with undeniable talent and gifts.

Kristi Johnson '02

Graduation year
2002

Major
Theatre/CAS

Further education
The Two Year Conservatory at Act One Studios

Favorite roles/crews while at Calvin
Three Penny Opera (Lucy):

My eyes were first opened to the ENDLESS possibilities of theatre and how it could change the world.

My Dearest Sister (Barbra):

Finding the beautiful child-like joy of playing and letting go on stage.

As It Is In Heaven(Polly):

The sheer spiritual nature of theatre... and its sacredness found in moments of raw truth.

The January interim at The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. Being broken and finding my true core of being an artist.