For anyone who has been around the Grand Forks theatre scene since the mid-90s, Nikki Quam will probably look a little bit familiar. She’s been in numerous productions at the UND Burtness mainstage and lab theatres, the Firehall Theatre, and the Empire Theatre. She’ll be appearing next in the Empire Theatre Company’s production of The Receptionist as the title character, Beverly. If you don’t recognize her, you’ve probably seen her in one of her many roles where she has completely changed her look with theatrical makeup tricks. It’s this skill with makeup magic that got Nikki tapped to teach a special stage makeup workshop at the Firehall Theatre on Saturday, March 23 (details available HERE). Miss Jaye caught up with Nikki Quam and asked her a few questions about her theatrical experience.
Janessa: So, how did you first get interested in theatre?
Nikki: I was practically born singing, dancing, and acting. My parents had me doing impressions of things I saw on TV at the ripe age of one! But coming from a small town in North Dakota I had no access to any training and the thought of going to New York or Hollywood never even crossed my poverty-stricken mind. It wasn’t until I was a Freshman in college that I started to think about it seriously. I took some classes and was in a few productions and the rest is history.
Janessa: You paint a fierce face! Where did you learn to do stage makeup?
Nikki: I learned stage make-up from the two semesters that UND offered, taught by Kathy Jacobs.
Janessa: You’ve done a TON of shows – but what is your favorite look that you’ve ever created?
Nikki: I love to look different, so Miss Fern from The Bad Seed at the Fire Hall in 2009 where I aged myself quite a bit. I also loved what I created for Shaking the Dew from the Lilies and Psycho Beach Party (Fire Hall 2010 and 2011 respectively). Tami had a look that I wouldn’t necessarily do in real life and Mrs. Forrest was an homage to old Hollywood.
(Left: Nikki as Tami in Shaking the Dew from the Lillies. Right: Nikki as Mrs. Forrest in Psycho Beach Party with Casey Paradies and Matt Hegdahl. And someone else that you can’t really see.)
Janessa: You are going to be teaching a makeup class at the Firehall this month. What can students expect to learn if they take your class?
Nikki: If you take my make-up class you will learn basic corrective make-up, how to make a look for a character, and how to do old age make-up. And I’m throwing in latex scars for extra fun!
Janessa: I know you do more than makeup, diva! Tell us about some of your other work in the theatre.
Nikki: I’ve done everything but write a play. Literally everything from acting to running the light board to painting the set. I have paid the bills by working as a set builder and house manager, and for a few years I was a theatre arts teacher. When I’m not acting I enjoy directing.
Janessa: So every girl has a dream. I want to be a Bond girl – especially if I get to fuck Daniel Craig! Oh my gawd, I would take that man and…sorry, got distracted there for just a moment. Anyway, Nikki, tell me what your “theatre dream” is – dream role, dream show to direct, etc.
Nikki: Right now my dream role is Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff? by Edward Albee. It just interests me so much, all the juicy layers to that character. I love showing the conjoining and contrasting elements of absurdism and reality. I think I could do that role justice. My other dream is to do Shakespeare more/again. Right now there seems to be an irrational fear of the bard and no one is jumping on board with me. Sad face. I have the set, costumes, lights and make-up already designed for A Winter’s Tale if anyone wants to produce it!
Janessa: Is there anything else you want our World of Champagne readers to know about the fierce and feisty Miss Nikki Quam?
Nikki:My deep dark secrets? LOL! There’s a small part of me inside that can be insecure, but it makes me work hard. I overcome my fears and surprise myself, and I think “Hey, I CAN do that!” I’d also like people to know that in addition to taking my make-up class, you can see me star in The Receptionist at the Empire in April. Also in April/May you can see my stage combat work in Moon over Buffalo at the Fire Hall.
Janessa: Thanks so much for taking the time to sit down and answer all of my questions! Good luck with your new show!
Nikki: Thank you for show-casing me! I hope your readers can come out to see me in The Receptionist!
Nikki Quam’s Stage Makeup workshop will be held at the Firehall Theatre on Saturday, March 23rd from 2 – 5 pm. The cost is $55 and includes your very own theatrical makeup kit to get you started in the exciting world of stage makeup! For info about the Directing workshop or the Meisner Acting Techniques workshop, go HERE!
(Nikki Quam as Mrs. Forrest and Chris Berg as Chiclet in Psycho Beach Party. And a jockstrap. Just because.)
Tags: Casey Paradies, Chiclet, Chris Berg, Empire Theater Company, Empire Theatre Company, Fire Hall Theater, Fire Hall Theatre, Firehall Theater, Firehall Theatre, Firehall Workshops, Greater Grand Forks Community Theater, Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre, Janessa, Janessa J, Janessa J Champagne, Janessa Jaye, Janessa Jaye Champagne, makeup workshop, Matt Hegdahl, Mr.s Forrest, Mrs. Fern, Nikki Quam, Psycho Beach party, Shaking the Dew From The Lillies, stage makeup, The Bad Seed, The Receptionist, UND Theater