IN THIS WEEK’s “Faces of ITS” profile, meet Jessi Kirtley, a three-star Thespian senior from Troupe 4205 at Roswell High School in Roswell, Georgia.

Jessi Kirtley

Jessi Kirtley

How has theatre impacted your life?
Theatre has been a part of my life since I was about 3 years old. It was always fun. I always loved dressing up and making a fool of myself. As I got older and it became more a passion than a hobby, I realized theatre was my creative outlet. It has given me a place to truly be myself by, ironically, becoming other people.

What is one lesson you’ve learned from theatre?
I have learned that someone else’s success is not my failure. As individualistic as theatre is, there is an inevitable amount of comparison involved. Being able to pull myself out of that comparative mindset helped me realize that just because someone else is ahead doesn’t mean I’m behind. I’m just on a different path.

What has been your favorite theatre experience so far?
My favorite theatre experience was probably my time at the 2019 Jimmy Awards. I learned so much, made so many awesome friends, and got to perform on a Broadway stage!

Who is your theatre hero?
McKenzie Kurtz. I grew up watching her performances at Milton High School and have always used her as inspiration. I got to see her play Mary Poppins her senior year of high school. I was so floored that I went and saw the show again. That performance completely shaped my performance of Mary Poppins my junior year and led me to win the [2019 Shuler Hensley] leading actress award she’d won years prior. Her time in Frozen on Broadway was cut short, but I know Broadway will be seeing her again soon.

What theatrical character or show best describes your life?
I think Big Fish best represents my life. Theatre has a funny way of blurring the line between fact and fantasy in my life — like how Edward’s crazy stories are not completely true, but not completely made up either. I’m so fortunate to be able to tell such fantastic, absurd stories. Every show has always found its own relevance in my life and shaped me into the person I am or am becoming. I also have a strong affinity for daffodils.

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