Lady Be Good

A bartender reflects on one unforgettable night.

  • James Kinney
    Director
  • Pierre Marais
    Director
    Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Pierre Marais is an award-winning short film director and cinematographer based out of NYC. As a Broadway performer himself, dance has been a cornerstone of his work and he has defined his style largely through movement. Over the pandemic alone, Pierre’s films have garnered over 50 selections from different film festivals across the globe; gathering several notable selections for his work at the San Francisco Dance Festival, Cannes Indie Shorts film festival and New York Short Film festival. Most notably, his short films, It Cries Too Loudly and Lady Be Good, have both earned him Best Cinematography awards at the Eastern Europe Film Festival and Experimental Dance and Music Film Festival respectively. Narratively, Pierre serves as a director and cinematographer for For The Boys, a popular and award-winning web-series streaming on SlayTV. He is also works as a director for Broadstream, a new online streaming platform. In the first quarter of 2022, Pierre’s documentary, ‘Ensemble’ will be released; a reframing of the recorded sessions that created the musical “A Chorus Line” through the lens of the pandemic.
  • Straighten Your Crown Productions
    Producer
    Straighten Your Crown Productions strives to create inclusive content and empower artists to celebrate their true selves. SYC was founded by Nicole LaFountaine, who has worked in various regional and NY based theater companies including Playwrights Horizons and The Really Useful Company as assistant to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as with Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS on Broadway Bares Fire Island and the Fire Island Dance Festival hosted by Dancers Responding to AIDS. Recent projects include the short dance films ANYONE and MELANCHOLY MAN and the soon to be released THE GAME. Feature films include 37 HEAVENS starring Gemma Arterton and Guy Pearce, currently in pre-production with Jump Street Films. Theater development credits include CALL IT LOVE, a concert version of a new musical in conjunction with Eclipse Theater Company, and Sueños, Our American Musical, with New York Theater Barn. “On your darkest days, straighten your crown and remember who you are.”
  • Skye Mattox
    Key Cast
    "Skye "
    Skye Mattox is originally from Danville, NH and grew up dancing at her mother’s studio. From there, she studied intensively for two years at Jeannette Neill’s studio in Boston, MA. The granddaughter of jazz dance legend, Matt Mattox, she was always drawn to jazz and theater dance. She began her career as a performer when she moved to New York City at age 17. Broadway credits: West Side Story, On The Town (Ivy Smith understudy), and Carousel. Other NYC credits include American Dance Machine, and numerous shows for New York City Center’s Encores! series, such as Little Me and High Button Shoes. TV: Smash (Season 2), Fosse/Verdon, The Deuce (Season 3) . In December 2021, she can be seen in theaters as a Jet Girl in the upcoming adaptation of West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg. In addition to performing, Skye is also passionate about choreography and teaching. She teaches at two of New York City’s premier dance studios, Steps On Broadway and Broadway Dance Center, and has been on faculty for Broadway Dreams Foundation. When she is not performing, she enjoys teaching for studios, training programs, and performing arts schools across the country. Follow her on instagram @skye_mattox .
  • Caleb Marshall
    Key Cast
    "Caleb"
    Moulin Rouge The Musical OBC, Good Morning America “Moulin Rouge”, "Anyone" Award winning short dance film, “Places Please” short film, “Midding” short film, “Carol of the Bells” Choe Flowers music video, “West Side Story” with the Nashville Symphony
  • Ahmad Simmons
    Key Cast
    "Ahmad"
    Ahmad Simmons is a performing artist, choreographer, director and creative producer based in New York City. He was last seen on Broadway as Diesel in Ivo Van Hove’s groundbreaking revival of West Side Story. Previous credits include the Original Broadway Cast of Hadestown, Carousel and Cats. Ahmad co-starred alongside Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams as Ben Vereen in the Emmy nominated FX mini-series Fosse/Verdon. Other TV appearances include ABC’s TV remake of Dirty Dancing. Prior to his career on Broadway, Ahmad toured Internationally and all across the United States as a dancer with Parsons Dance Company, River North Dance Chicago, and Eisenhower Dance Detroit.
  • Alex Nordin
    Key Cast
    "Alex"
    Alex has trained extensively in stylistic work with a focus on the Fosse style, has been a featured dancer of the Verdon/Fosse Legacy, and has been seen in productions of Chicago the Musical around the U.S. Further performance credits include: The regional premier of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The world premier of Ben, Virginia and Me: The Liberace Musical, Kinky Boots, Billy Elliot, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Hello, Dolly starring Sally Struthers, White Christmas, Crazy for You, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, The Rocky Horror Show Live, Singin’ in the Rain, Footloose, Oklahoma, and several roles in Film and Television including HBO’s The Gilded Age, UPROOTED: The Journey of Jazz Dance, To The Stage: A Show Choir Documentary, featured on The Dance Network, and CBS's The Good Wife and spin-off The Good Fight. He also served as an international dance tutor for The American Musical Theatre Academy of London, along with guest faculty credits at several premier dance programs around the country. As an associate choreographer, he has collaborated on productions of Chicago, Kinky Boots, West Side Story, The Wiz, Shrek, Seussical the Musical, Crazy For You, White Christmas, The Addams Family and Disney's NEWSIES! A highlight of his career, he has had the immense honor of performing and associate choreographing several works for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Dancers Responding to AIDS.
  • Jess LeProtto
    Key Cast
    "Jess"
    Jess LeProtto is a New Jersey native and Broadway performer, who holds a B.F.A. Musical Theater at Pace University. Broadway credits include: Carousel, Hello, Dolly!, Cats (Mungojerrie), On The Town, Newsies (OBC), Bye Bye Birdie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and The Boy From Oz. National Tours/Regional Theater include: Hello, Dolly! (Barnaby Tucker), Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Grand Ole Opry), American Dance Machine for the 21st Century (Joyce Theater), A Bronx Tale (Papermill Playhouse), In Your Arms (Old Globe Theater), Freddie Falls in Love (Signature Theater). Film/Television credits include: West Side Story (directed by Steven Spielberg), So You Think You Can Dance (Season 8, Top 8), Smash, Law & Order: SVU, One Life to Live, and the MTV VMAs.
  • Ramone Owens
    Key Cast
    "Ramone"
    Ramone Owens is a broadway actor and resident of New York City for the past 10 years, originally from Los Angeles. Most recently Ramone was seen on Broadway in BEETLEJUICE, the MUSICAL. He was also apart of both the broadway and national touring companies of MOTOWN, the MUSICAL. Favorite regional credits: THE STING (Papermill Playhouse), THE PRINCE OF EGYPT (TheaterWorks Silicon Valley). Ramone was recently on faculty at The Boston Conservatory (2020/2021) and is current dance faculty at Long Island University and New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.
  • Nathan Keen
    Key Cast
    "Nathan"
    Nathan Keen (he/him): Upcoming; A Christmas Carol (Topper, Dance Captain at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis). Broadway: Hello, Dolly! (Ensemble, Vacation Swing), Les Miserables (Gavroche). National Tours: Hello, Dolly! (Swing, Assistant Dance Captain), Finding Neverland (Ensemble), Chicago (Swing), We Will Rock You (Ensemble), West Side Story (Big Deal, Fight Captain, u/s Riff, u/s Action). Other credits include West Side Story International Tour (Jet Boy vacation swing), Chicago at PCLO (Harry/Harrison), Radio City Spring Spectacular (Ensemble). Being part of ‘Lady Be Good’ was a dream, thank you to everyone who made it all possible! Love to Jenny, Mum, and Keener. @nateckeen across social media
  • Christian Borle
    Key Cast
    "Bartender"
    Broadway: Little Shop of Horrors (Drama Desk Award), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Falsettos (Tony Nominee), Something Rotten! (Tony Award), Peter and the Star Catcher (Tony Award), Mary Poppins, Legally Blond (Tony Nominee), Thoroughly Modern Millie, Amour, Footloose, Jesus Christ Superstar. Television: Prodigal Son, Elementary, Younger, The Good Fight, Peter Pan Live, The Good Wife, Sound of Music Live, Smash, Law and Order
  • Curtis Shields
    Lighting Designer
    Curtis Shields is a New York City based lighting designer for Theatre, Dance and Live Events. His work has been seen at Westport Country Playhouse, White Plains Performing Arts Center, Mayo Performing Arts Center, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, SoHo Playhouse, Martha Graham Studios, Broadway Method Academy, and the Alexander Kasser Theatre among others. Select Designs include: West Side Story, The Little Mermaid, Shrek The Musical, Elton John & Tim Rice's AIDA, Grease, American Idol's Kimberley Locke LIVE in Concert, WestFest Dance Series, World Pride Closing Ceremony (assistant). Broadway: (Assistant to the LD) Spongebob Squarepants The Musical. Shields is a graduate of Montclair State University where he received a BFA in Lighting Design.
  • Billy Hipkins
    Costumes/Wardrobe
    Billy willingly left the stage for the wardrobe room many years back but will sometimes take the stage to perform his solo shows (did I mention that he has a solo show? Check www.BillyHipkins.com) other than that he’s happiest around hangers. He has worked on the wardrobe crews of 27 Broadway shows to date, which has afforded him the opportunity to use his costume abilities for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids creating lewd attire for several Broadway Bares shows, and many an Easter Bonnet (some award winning!). Billy has only ever wanted a child at Halloween and so “Uncle Billy” has come up with some better than home-make costumes for the kids in this life (The ‘Audrey II’ for the 8-year-old and a Dr. Who Dalek for a 10-year-old are highlights). He also has a lot to say on YouTube: Billy Hipkins the ALSO-RAN.
  • James Kinney
    Writer
  • Project Type:
    Music Video, Short
  • Completion Date:
    June 25, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Award Winner - New York Independent Cinema Awards
    New York City
    United States
    September 2, 2021
    Award Winner - Best Music Video
  • Award Winner - Experimental, Dance & Music Film Festival
    Toronto
    Canada
    October 8, 2021
    Winner - Best Cinematography
  • Finalist - Global Shorts
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    September 30, 2021
    Finalist
  • Nominee - Phoenix Shorts
    Phoenix, AZ
    United States
    August 20, 2021
    Nominee
  • Official Selection - New York Shorts International Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    November 4, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Official Selection - Los Angeles Dance Shorts Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    November 12, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Official Selection - Inspired Dance Film Festival
    Sydney
    Australia
    November 5, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Official Selection - INDIE SHORTS AWARDS CANNES
    Cannes
    France
    October 26, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Official Selection - Divulge Dancers' Film Festival
    La Jolla, CA
    United States
    November 26, 2021
    Official Selection
Director Biography - James Kinney, Pierre Marais

JAMES KINNEY
Director/Choreographer
From stage to screen, James Kinney's celebrated artistic vision has established him as a respected voice in the world of dance entertainment.
Kinney was named BroadwayWorld's Best Choreographer for several theatrical works, created celebrated pieces for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS annual Easter Bonnet Celebration at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway, and created world-premier pieces for Fire Island Dance Festival and Hudson Valley Dance Festival, as well as several ballets in repetoire with New Jersey Ballet. Kinney's choreography has been seen on such iconic stages as The Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, The Old Globe, The Kimmel Center and The Marquis Theatre on Broadway. Mr. Kinney's work has also bridged the worlds of dance and fashion, having directed and choreographed acclaimed events for Hermès of Paris.
Today, his work can be seen on stages and television screens around the country. He's become known as a vital asset in creating new and innovative movement for musical theatre, the concert dance world, film and television, and live events, all while staying uniquely true to his artistic vision of smart, meaningful movement, oozing with style.

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Director Statement

I think it’s clear that with Lady Be Good, you can see my love for jazz music and jazz dance, a truly American art form. It is my belief that jazz must continue to evolve with the times and quality of performers we have today, while always paying respect to the iconic history of the style. As creatives, it was our mission to celebrate both the past and the present when creating LBG (as we affectionately call it). I have always been inspired by the great jazz dancers, choreographers, and musicians that paved the way. It’s the reason I became a Broadway dancer before transitioning into choreography and direction of both film and theatre. Clearly I’m a fan.

With Lady Be Good I wanted to pay respect to all these elements and bring it into the present day, in style and tone. The female protagonist is running this spectacle, and the men are there in full support of her. It is a joyous celebration of her and each other. Our bartender, shy and brooding, an outsider, anchors the narrative.

Co-Director Pierre Marais and I really dig in deep to the “long shot” and make very limited cuts. This lets our stars’ exquisite technique and powerhouse performances shine through, the camera dancing right alongside the choreography. You could literally put this number right on stage. I hope Lady Be Good brings you as much joy as a viewer as it did when we created it!