Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Actor Spotlight: Kennedy Joy Foristall

To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch is arguably one of the greatest protagonists in American literature. Whether he reminds you of your father, an uncle, or a beloved school teacher, everyone feels some connection towards Atticus. His unflinching bravery against an angry lynch mob and tireless defense of the innocent Tom Robinson make him a pillar by which to mirror our own lives. But one thing is for certain, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel isn’t Atticus’ story–it’s his 6 year old daughter’s.

KennedyJoyForistallCommTheat15_3In Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s current production of To Kill a Mockingbird, the spunky young Jean Louise “Scout” Finch is played by local actress Kennedy Joy Foristall. You may have seen her on stage at Mad Cow Theatre, Garden Theatre, The Abbey, and many others, but she got her first gig playing an “Arabian girl” in a community theater production of Aladdin Jr. when she was just eight years old. “I was very shy, so my parents and I decided it would be good for me. I wanted to come out of my shell,” she said.

And come out of her shell she has. As Scout, Kennedy Joy (also known as “KJ”) carries much of the first act of the show–which, at 12 years old, is quite impressive. When asked what her biggest challenge was in approaching this role, she shared that she struggled to get in the mindset of a 6 year old. “I started observing the little kids in my neighborhood and noticed that they were very fidgety, so I try to make sure I’m never standing still on stage for too long.” But despite their age difference, KJ has discovered that she and her young character have quite a bit in common.”Scout and I share a love for the outdoors and knowledge. We’re both very inquisitive and want to make the world a better place.”

KjafterhaircutThe biggest step KJ took to transform into her tomboy role was to chop off her long hair. She donated a whopping 13 inches to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which provides free natural hair wigs to women fighting breast cancer–a cause she is very passionate about after losing her grandmother to the disease in 2009. For this reason, she’s also interested in becoming a pediatric oncologist when she grows up.

You’re probably wondering where school fits into KJ’s busy acting career, but she’s clear on that: “School comes first”. K12 Virtual School gives her the flexibility she needs to do it all. “I bring my homework with me to rehearsals and work during our breaks.” But make no mistake, she also makes room for being a kid. Besides acting, her favorite activities include spending time with family and friends in the water (swimming, canoeing, paddle-boarding, etc.). She also loves to travel and has visited Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Smoky Mountains.


Photo by Tony Firriolo features Kennedy Joy Foristall and Warren Kelley.

Rehearsals have already started for KJ’s next gig–Dinah Lord in The Philadelphia Story at Mad Cow. Even though her time with the cast of To Kill a Mockingbird will come to an end on March 8, this busy young actress believes that Scout will always be a part of her. “This entire experience and everyone involved in it will always have a special place in my heart.”

All remaining performances of To Kill a Mockingbird are sold out–but guests have the opportunity to purchase standby tickets 90 minutes before each show starts.

For information on our standby policy, click here.

Shakespearely Yours,
Melissa Landy, PR Coordinator


One response

  1. I saw you in Friday’s matinee showing and you are a terrific young actress. This was my first time to the Shakespeare Theater and I cam e specifically for “Mockingbird”. Your performance will have me coming back for more. Good Luck!!

    March 7, 2015 at 4:31 pm

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