Today’s feature is one busy lady- Bess Moynihan!
Bess Moynihan, after graduating from Fontbonne University, has worked professionally in and around theatres in St. Louis for the past 10 years. Previously she has been the Production Manager for Mustard Seed Theatre, HotCity Theatre and Ozark Actors Theatre. Bess was the Managing Director for HotCity Theatre for 4 years before transferring to become the Lighting and Rigging Supervisor for the Touhill Performing Arts Center. In 2014, Bess joined Washington University as the Production Coordinator for The Edison Theatre and the 560 Music Center. In her spare time, Bess designs lights for various theatre companies around St. Louis and has been nominated twice for St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards for Outstanding Lighting Design for her work with Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble. Bess has recently stepped up as Executive Director of Mustard Seed Theatre.
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
Picture it. I’m 6 years old, bright blonde curly hair and an enthusiastic smile. My Grandparents were taking me to the MUNY. “It’s a show all about kitties!” They explained…I was hooked, it was a miraculous discovery; the THEATRE. CATS. (Upon further review, that show is terrible) but I was in love with the spectacle, I was in awe of the magic of live theatre and I knew I wanted more. (I would spend the next 2 years watching the VHS of the Broadway version ad nauseam and then recreating it alone in my room.) A true producer at heart.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
My grandfather said: “I don’t care what you want to be, just be the best at it. I don’t give a shit if it’s a professional moon watcher, just be the best damn moon watcher out there”
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
Once, while playing Eliza Doolittle, my Henry Higgins was supposed to pop an easy-to-chew chocolate in my mouth… except one night, he accidentally grabbed the sugar cube with the almond on top. I absolutely couldn’t chew it at all… I had to spend the next 15 min in the scene with the giant sugar lump in my cheek. It slowly dissolved and occasionally would cause me to drool. I like to think I played it off…
Q: What is your dream role/show?
A few years back I was at the Humana New Play Festival and saw an incredible play, Elemeno Pea by Molly Smith Metzler. I don’t know if I want more to be in it or to produce it but it still remains my favorite show I’ve ever seen. I laughed, I cried, I laughed and cried at the same time, which is just dangerous and snotty…
Q: What is your current guilty TV Pleasure?
The Voice. Usually, I just fast forward through everything but the songs and any time Alicia Keys breathes or talks…
Thank you Bess- good luck in your new job!
Grace Austin is a local director/educator.
See more of her work here.