Johnson County Community College
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Singer Nellie McKay brings tuneful music, sharp wit to Polsky Theatre
Nellie McKay, a singer-songwriter with numerous talents, will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in the Carlsen Center's Polsky Theatre at Johnson County Community College.
McKay's music is as tuneful and clever as the best of the Great American Songbook – part cabaret and part sparkly pop. But beneath the charming melodic surface are a wit that cuts and a sharply-tuned social conscience.
Tickets, which are $32, are available at the college box office at 913-469-4445 or online at jccc.edu/TheSeries.
McKay was born in London in 1982 and grew up in the United States. Besides producing five albums, she's an actress, a satirist and a comedian.
McKay has done Brecht on Broadway, opened for Lou Reed at Carnegie Hall, sung Woody Allen movie songs at the Hollywood Bowl, performed on A Prairie Home Companion, performed a duet with Eartha Kitt and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, played Hilary Swank's sister on the big screen and paid tribute to Doris Day.
She also has written music for the Rob Reiner film Rumor Has It and her music has been heard on the television shows Weeds, Grey's Anatomy, NCIS, Privileged and Nurse Jackie.
This spring, McKay premiered her latest project, I Want to Live! which The New York Times described as a "brilliant, zany film-noir musical biography." The performance delves into the story of Barbara Graham, the third woman to die in the gas chamber at San Quentin.
A reviewer for the Times wrote that McKay's "virtually unlimited gifts as a singer, songwriter, actress, pianist, ukulele player, mimic, satirist and comedian fit into a show that is much deeper than its surface might suggest…In the most lighthearted way, they evoke a heartless environment of social injustice in which people who fall through the cracks are invisible to everyone else."
McKay is known as an outspoken and fierce advocate for feminism, animal rights, civil rights and other progressive ideals.
McKay's first album, Get Away From Me, a satirical take on Norah Jones' Come Away with Me, was released in 2004. It was followed by Pretty Little Head and Obligatory Villages. McKay's fourth album – Normal as Blueberry Pie – was a tribute to Doris Day.
McKay's latest album, Home Sweet Mobile Home, features the musical wanderlust, lyrical playfulness and unique point of view that have characterized her music since her breakaway debut.