Meet Kelly Kitchens!

An interview with Annika Bennett (Book-It’s Literary Manager)


Book-It is delighted to welcome Interim Artistic Director Kelly Kitchens! For many, Kelly will need no introduction – she’s a longtime member of the Book-It community whose theatrical gifts have enriched Seattle’s theatre scene for over twenty years. Literary Manager Annika Bennett recently sat down with Kelly to talk about her favorite Book-It memories, the reading material she’d want with her if she were stranded on a deserted island, and why Book-It’s mission is so important to her – read on for more!

Annika: Hi, Kelly! To start us off – what are a couple of books you’d want on a deserted island?

Kelly: I would need How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, because my last name is one of life’s little ironies. Is there a definitive book out there on how to camp? I would absolutely need that one, too.

Annika: Could you speak a little to why bringing books to life onstage matters to you?

Kelly: Oh my word. Books and theater—these are magnificent portals to worlds both known and unfamiliar. They fuel the engines of imagination and empathy. They allow us to dive deeply into our selves for reflection and invite us to explore new worlds outside our own experiences. Put great literature and great theater together, you have this marvelous exchange of ideas, both public and private; in this magical play-land we discover, we grow, we grieve, we heal, we celebrate, we create new selves, and we build better worlds.

Annika: That’s beautifully put! Book-It has been fortunate enough to be part of your life for quite some time – could you share a few of your favorite Book-It memories?

Kelly: So many memories! Okay, the first ones: One of the first shows I saw in Seattle after moving here with a dear friend from graduate school was Lady Chatterley’s Lover, back when Book-it was performing in a small venue over on Westlake. It took my breath away. I was so excited I had moved to a city with a company like Book-it that was so deeply invested in exceptional storytelling. I thought “This company is unique and clearly special, and I want to work with them!” So I scored an audition and I landed one of the first roles I had here in town: the front end of a donkey in Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant. I was thrilled and I had the time of my life. In the years since then, it has been my pleasure and privilege to have been a part of the Book-it community as an actor, an adaptor, a teaching artist, a director, and as an audience member. To be of service to this organization now in this capacity is an honor and a joy.

Annika: What feels most exciting to you right now about the upcoming year with Book-It?

Kelly: Telling great stories with imagination and intention. My hope for the upcoming year is to continue taking folks’ breath away with the stories we tell and how we tell them.

Annika: Last thing – can you give me three words to describe Book-It’s upcoming 34th season?

Kelly: Hmm… “unexpected journeys” certainly comes to mind. Is “world-premieres” one word or two? (Laughs.) I’m going to need more than three!

Thanks, Kelly! Keep an eye out for our 2023-24 season announcement, headed your way later this Spring.