Written by Phil Cerroni
By Jess Paniszczyn
Born and raised in Irving, Karis Nichole Danish, the little girl with the big voice, is preparing to début in her most important role to date as Phoebe Saint-Anne in the play Hit-Lit.
The daughter of John and Deborah Danish, Karis graduated Nimitz High School in May 2000. While attending Nimitz, she was selected as a member of the Texas All-State Choir as Soprano II.
“Karis was always selected to be in these choirs when she would go to summer camp,” Mr. Danish said. “But when she went to Nimitz High School, she joined the choir, and suddenly we found out that she had a remarkable voice. I flew her out to a voice instructor in Alabama. Afterwards he said, ‘Imagine having all the equipment of a Stradivarius violin. Now, can she learn how to use it?’
“She was on the Opera track for two years at TCU. But she wasn’t happy performing in foreign languages. While she was studying at the Wheaton College Conservatory, she was in a performance of ‘Into the Woods’, and that is when she decided she would rather sing in Broadway musical type things.”
After finishing her education, Karis decided to move to New York to pursue her career.
“Her mother and I are very proud of her dedication, persistence and commitment to this goal she has been working toward,” Danish said. “A lot of people think we must support her in Manhattan, because it is such an expensive place to live. But we do not. She knows this is something she is going to have to be able to function in if she wants to sing as a career. The reality of that must be confronted now.
“She works different jobs. She has a job where she enters data for consultants that analyze taxes on phone bills. She also works at a sub-Studio 54 which was designed by three Emmy Award winners. It has live entertainment and looks kind of like a speak easy with red velvet wall paper and leather furniture.
“Hit-Lit is a brand new play, and its initial preview is at the University of Houston. It looks like they have decided to cast Karis in the role when they go to New York. I would say this is her most important role so far.”
Karis will be playing the part of Phoebe Saint-Anne, a late 20’s to mid 30’s female, work-addicted Director of Business Affairs for Pfatt Publishing of New York City who either must find a new publishing angle for her employer or face losing her job. Phoebe settles on a pseudo hit-man who, unbeknownst to her, is a want-to-be “Hemingway” writer who fictionalizes the accounts of his alleged hits - the hits which Phoebe has paid him good money in royalties to save her job. This leads to an incredible adventure of mad-cap comedy and mayhem. Karis will be featured in a singing role at the end of Hit-Lit’s first act.
Karis’s past credits include: Regional credits: Deirdre McDavey in I Hate Hamlet (Cape May Stage), Sister James in Doubt and A Tale of Two Cities – World Premiere (Asolo Repertory Theater), Boo in Blue Window and Bacchae (Asolo Conservatory). Off-Off Broadway credits: The Secretaries with Project; Theater. Film: Penguin: The Musical. TV credits: Days of Our Lives.
The world premier of the new play Hit-Lit, written by two-time Emmy-Award winner Robert Wuhl, the creator and star of HBO’s Arli$$, who will be co-directing this production with Steven W. Wallace (Producing Artistic Director, Houston Shakespeare Festival.) will be performed at the University of Houston Jan. 29- Feb. 2.
Hit-Lit will be performed at the Queens Theatre in the Park in New York March 7-17.