In Conversation: Ryan Scott Oliver, Kailey Marshall, and Ethan Carlson

May Factory Salon, coming to a PIT Underground near youThe In Conversation series brings together theatre artists of all disciplines together to discuss their work, their process, their passions, and their least favorite things about each other. For the week of May’s Factory Salon, host Ryan Scott Oliver interviews former students and guest performers Kailey Marshall and Ethan Carlson.

RSO: Who the f*ck are you?

KAILEY MARSHALL: I’M KAILEY FUCKING MARSHALL!!! I love music, stories, and dogs. I’m crazy fun, anxiety ridden, and never busy enough. One of my favorite past times is eavesdropping on other people’s conversations in public. It’s like the hybrid of people watching.

ETHAN CARLSON: I was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas. I started doing musical theatre when I was in kindergarten, and never stopped! I moved to Michigan in my junior year of high school to go to a boarding school for theatre. That provided me the education and resources to get into Pace University, where I just graduated (yay) and received my undergrad in Musical Theatre. Performing is my first love, but the close second is writing, and always has been! Well, not writing English… writing music haha.

RSO: What exactly is it that you do?

KAILEY MARSHALL: I write pop/rock music and lyrics about STRONG AS HELL females, or just about myself and my daily struggles with love, sex, and existence. I serve at Bareburger to survive, and I spend my free time drinking craft beer with my boyfriend and eating delicious food whilst watching an HBO series.

ETHAN CARLSON: I mainly am a performer. I have been involved in new readings, Off-Broadway shows, concerts, and countless productions within the past few years and my lifetime haha. I also am, obviously, a composer! My main passion is writing music, but I love writing lyrics as well and have recently been enjoying writing my own songs as a singer-songwriter. I wrote a show with one of my writing partners, Saidu Sinlah, called Blind Flight that was accepted into the Festival of New American Musicals last summer. I am currently writing the music to a show called Horses Rule! with my best friend/collaborator Nessie Nankivell!

RSO: Labels, I love labels, what’s your label? Singer-songwriter? Composer-lyricist?

KAILEY MARSHALL: Composer-lyricist AND singer-songwriter. How about them apples? Other labels include FEMINIST, person with MANY feelings, hard worker, and cuuuuurvy female.

ETHAN CARLSON: OOOOh depends on the day and the project. I would say singer-songwriter mostly.. But also composer-lyricist. It changes so much! Why are you asking me this?!

Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos

Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos

RSO: Who are your influences? You can say me.

KAILEY MARSHALL: I’m IN LOVE with fierce, piano playing ladies. Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, and Amanda Palmer are pretty high up there in terms of influence. I go through a different album that I’m obsessed with every month. This month, it’s the new Girls soundtrack, which is just a great mixture of pop excellence. Last month it was folk pixies The Crane Wives and Laura Marling. I think I’ll be back to some Kanye and Kid Cudi next month.

Dave Malloy

Dave Malloy


ETHAN CARLSON: Absolutely Ryan Scott Oliver. I mean, you were the one who taught me how to actually write, so I owe all my knowledge to you! I also am deeeeply influenced by the band Daughter. They have always been such a muse for me, and I listen to them literally every day. And then Dave Malloy. His music is so unique and different, that I find myself constantly in awe and appreciation of what makes each song/piece set apart. That is so inspiring to me.

RSO: What separates you from other new writers? Why should you win the Hunger Games?

KAILEY MARSHALL: I’d say the fact that I have a vagina is pretty first and foremost. There are always a lot more men than women in the musical theatre writing scene. Otherwise, I’m not afraid to embrace the uncomplicated. I’m all about merging music that makes you want to get up and dance with great lyrics. I always write about strong female characters, which is something I think we’re lacking in musical theatre. And I’d like to think that I’m talking about female sexuality and insecurity in a way that a lot of people can relate to. CALL ME KATNISS, I’M IN IT TO WIN IT.

ETHAN CARLSON: I think my take with music is a weird sort of combination of theatre/story/pop/folk. While that sounds generic haha, I feel that my sound is completely different than anyone you will ever hear! Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing, you tell me…

RSO: What are a few songs you recently listened to on Spotify, obviously besides the Jasper in Deadland World Premiere Recording which is available on Apple music?

Jasper in Deadland

Jasper in Deadland


KAILEY MARSHALL: 5 songs that you should go listen to RIGHT MEOW by Kailey Marshall:

“Here’s To Us” by Ellie Goulding
“How to Rest” by The Crane Wives
“Ain’t Got Far to Go” by Jess Glynne
“Oasis” by Amanda Palmer
“She’s Not Me” by Jenny Lewis

ETHAN CARLSON: “Landfill” by Daughter, “Candles” by Daughter, “17 and 53” by Danielle Ate The Sandwich, “Lifesong” from Jasper In Deadland, “Avalanche” by Walk The Moon.

RSO: What song are you most excited about performing at the Salon?

ETHAN CARLSON: I am premiering a new solo version of a song called “Stranded” which will be performed by Mary Claire Miskell. This is a new sort of story/pop song in the vein of Daughter and I am excited for people to hear it.

KAILEY MARSHALL: I’m the most excited/scared to have a song from my new musical Portrait of Jo performed. It’s the first time anybody in the public will be hearing it, and I’m VERY NERVOUS. I have 75% of an Act 1 right now that no one else has heard except me. And the fact that I’m showing any piece of it to anyone is making it more real, and scary, and open to criticism. Which is how your baby grows, but is also the scariest part of showing your new baby to other people. Because what if they think your baby is ugly?

RSO: Tell me one thing you really dislike about me. Kailey, you can have write a list if you need.

KAILEY MARSHALL: THIS QUESTION IS TRICKERY RYAN! Well, I will say that I’m still very scarred from the multiple times you called me into your office and asked me if I had a coke problem because I would shake whenever I talked to you one on one. In reality, I was just terrified of you and was scared of crying and being overly emotional in front of you because you made fun of me for doing that all the time. IT’S FINE I’M OVER IT.

ETHAN CARLSON: I dislike who you are as a human being and everything about you. Any more questions?

The Schuyler Sisters

Sophie’s Choice


RSO: Marry, fuck, kill: Eliza, Angelica, or Peggy?

ETHAN CARLSON: I would marry fuck and kill Eliza because it’s Phillipa Soo and she is God’s greatest gift to this world… So while I love her, and everything about her, she is also my greatest weakness.. Hence. All 3.

KAILEY MARSHALL: Marry Angelica, probably kill Eliza, and fuck Peggy. Peggy seems fun and up for anything, ya know?

The Factory Salon will be held on May 25, 2015 from 8 pm to 12 am at The PIT Underground, 123 E 24th St. Get your tickets here!

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