Meet Mavis: Nikki Savitt
Read more about A Mighty Fortress is our Basement by clicking HERE.
Which character do you play?
Do you feel like you share any personality traits with your character?
Two things: I have a crazy good long term memory, and can recall where I was, year, date, time, etc and tend to know the scoop on what is going on in folks lives a lot . . . but like Mavis, my downfall is that I have the worst short term memory, and would also, to quote her, "loose my own head if it weren't screwed on tightly." There is a great song Mavis does in CBL 5 that sums it up perfectly!
Do you have any personal connections with being a Church Basement Lady?
I knew very little about this world before I played one, but I will say every time I put on those 1960's glasses, I love the memories of watching home movies and my mom wore glasses just like the cat eye ones I always don!
What is it like being a Church Basement Lady?
I won't lie, the job security you can get from the success of the franchise is just delightful! Before CBL exploded, I used to be so envious of all my male friends who bounced from one production of Forever Plaid to another, and now I have male actor friends who envy that the CBL franchise is the hottest ticket in town! I also find myself doing lil Mavis quirks like folding everything (towels, foil, etc) and shutting doors with my foot (or rear end).
What is your favorite part of your role?
Her unabashed unashamed way Mavis can jump into life, which I can relate to in many ways. But she also has a calm cool collected way she can handle any crisis, or fix any mess, which is not at all like me. I panic in the face of disaster, whilst Mavis knows exactly what to do. I admit, I envy my alter ego!
What is your favorite part of the show?
I think being in rehearsal for one of the CBL chapters of which I have already done with a cast member who is brand new to the show, and knowing the moments that are guaranteed to be audience favorites. I always relay the story of my very first CBL rehearsal process, we were all so skeptical of the parts our director, and fearless leader Curt Wollan would tell us to "hold for huge laughs" and lo and behold our first audience ever howled at every moment he said they would. I always tell new folk to the CBL world, "trust Curt, he truly knows every moment and how it works in this world".
How many CBL shows have you been in?
This marks my 18th adventure. I have done seven productions of the original chapter, four of the sequel, "A Second Helping", four of the Christmas rendition "Away in the Basement, and this is my third time at "Mighty Fortress". Next year I am delighted to be going on the road with CBL 5, The Last Potluck Supper.
What is it like to tour this show?
It is truly a non-stop adventure and you have to be truly ready to go with the flow. For example, depending on the venue, the set can change. There may be many a day when the venue cannot accommodate the entire set, and our brilliant tech crew has a plan for a "B set" or (although this is the least ideal) the "C Set". There are times we have had to do performances with less walls, or with out a backstage cross over, and even in crazier times, no upper cabinets or stairs leading to the basement. Also there are times when they have to be creative when finding space for the Pastors podium. Also you have to walk your backstage path very carefully, especially if you have bad vision in the dark like I do. But it is glorious fun to see how different regions respond to our little world. If anyone who thinks this show only plays in the mid-west, we have played sold out houses in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Florida!
What do you like about A Mighty Fortress in Our Basement more or less than the other Church Basement Lady Shows?
I like that you get a little more character development, for example, Beverly gets a lot more than just being the cute daughter, she gets to experience the complexities of how life may change after confirmation and how, even at the age of 15, boys are frustrating. Also, Karin gets to break out of her "Donna Reed/Jackie Kennedy" perfect ways and have a glorious verbal meltdown! Mavis gets to do more than just being silly, but shows her heart at the possibility of losing her land, and yes, Vivian is just a softie under all her stern ways!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I admit, I love love love social media, so I do love twitter, face booking, getting lost in Buzzfeed. I also love books, movies, and am in cloud nine with a full line up of cable channels. I have a glorious mom and her crazy little shih tzu who fill my life with love and laughter. I also became very involved with a Facebook group called Theme Music back in 2012, which is a huge online community of musicians of all types who make perform and post songs based on a weekly theme decided by the group's creator. This group has introduced me to amazing folk and inspired me to learn some amazing types of music as well as teach myself some very basic ukulele skills as well.
Do you have any favorite other roles you’ve played?
Winnifred in ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Rose Brice in FUNNY GIRL, Veta in HARVEY, Eulalie in MUSIC MAN, Max in HOW I BECAME A PIRATE, Mother in BAREFOOT IN THE PARK
Have you acted at the Old Creamery Before? If so, in what shows?
My very first show (back when I was young enough to pull it off) was Taffetas in 2000, I have also played Cookie in Rumors here in 2010 and the Registered Nurse last summer in Sunshine Boys. I think besides CBL, I loved loved loved Rumors here at Old Creamery. It was a dream cast and just so darned funny, and I was just so sad to see that experience end!
What does it feel like to come back to the Old Creamery Theatre?
What’s it like to work here at the Old Creamery? It's like a great happy homecoming and October is one of the most beautiful times here in Amana!