Current and Upcoming Projects

This has been a summer of theatre festivals!

I’m currently in rehearsal for my next project, Shift, which is part of the 5th Annual Bechdel Fest running four performances, September 10th through 13th.   Each performance begins at 7pm at the Broken Nose Theatre, Mainstage at 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622. All tickets are Pay What You Can, suggested donation $20.00.

This year’s Bechdel Fest includes 8 short plays on the theme of “Identity,” each performed by a female-identifying cast, and all of which pass the now-famous “Bechdel Test.”  Shift is written by Cassandra Rose and directed by Gabi Labodka, and I play the role of Ellen.

Earlier this summer, I peformed in the Chicago Theatre Marathon, a weekend of original work centered around the theme “I am indomitable.” I played the role of Tina the choregrapher in the dance-centered play Shoom-Ka, written and directed by Mike Danovich and choreographed by Lily Jean.

First Show in Chicago: Gypsy with JPAC

posted May 6, 2017, 4:51 PM by Bessie Zolno   [ updated Sep 11, 2017, 5:37 PM ]

It's already closing weekend Gypsy with Jedlicka Performing Arts Center.  How great it's been to spend the past few months working with this amazing cast, crew and creative team, playing a variety of  distinctive characters  (Balloon Girl/Val/Showgirl).

Nominated for Best Leading Actress and Person to Watch: 2016 SF Regional Broadway World Awards

posted Dec 23, 2016, 4:20 PM by Bessie Zolno

Several of you have been asking for an update on my first semester of college as a BFA candidate in musical theatre at Columbia College Chicago.  I've definitely found my arts community and, and  the coursework is very much helping me advance my musical theatre skills.  Meanwhile, I've started auditioning around town, played the lead in a short film entitled It Could Happen to You, and started a side-job as a teaching assistance and teen mentor at one of the local companies.

Back in the Bay Area,  I was honored to be nominated (for the second year in a row) for the Broadway World San Francisco Regional Awards as both Best Leading Actress in a Play and Person to Watch.  Voting continues through early evening on December 31st.    You will find Best Leading Actress in about the middle of the categories, and Person to Watch toward the end.   Here's the link:

Congratulations to BAM and La Cage Aux Folles!

posted Sep 4, 2016, 9:38 PM by Bessie Zolno   [ updated Oct 22, 2016, 11:18 PM ]

So proud to learn that the cast of Bay Area Musicals' La Cage Aux Folles is a finalist for Best Ensemble in the 2016 Theatre Bay Area Awards!  Congratulations also to our scenic designer and both our leading men on their individual nominations .....the best of times is now!

La Cage Aux Folles with Bay Area Musicals running through July 31st

posted Sep 4, 2016, 9:33 PM by Bessie Zolno   [ updated Oct 22, 2016, 10:34 PM ]

My final Bay Area show this summer is  La Cage Aux Folles with Bay Area Musicals and I couldn't be more proud to be part of this great company's first season and to perform as part of this wonderful cast in the role of Anne.

Tickets are still available for our final weekend through  Evening performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm;  Matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm.  Playing at the Victoria Theatre, San Francisco, near the 16th and Mission BART Station.

Performing in the Boy from Oz in San Francisco

posted Jul 24, 2016, 12:05 AM by Bessie Zolno   [ updated Oct 22, 2016, 10:49 PM ]

'm having a blast as a rockette, go-go dancer and lounge singer . . .among other things the ensemble of The Boy From Oz, playing at the Great Star Theater in Chinatown, produced by Landmark Musical Theatre.   During our first weekend, reviews said things like:  "A cast that could be on Broadway or a London stage,"  and called it a "fantastic, lovely musical with great dancing."  Here's the link for tickets and more information:

This is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan with Marin OnStage

posted May 4, 2016, 7:17 PM by Bessie Zolno   [ updated Oct 22, 2016, 10:40 PM ]

This fall, I played a featured character in a web pilot "Business of the Breakdown."   I will let you know when it can be viewed and you can see me in another rebellious teen role!

 I will next be on stage as Jessica in This is Our Youth, directed by Pat Nims at Marin Onstage.   The show runs for 8 performances from January 15th through January 30th, 2016, with a Tuesday night preview on January 13th.   Tickets are: $20 general, $18 senior, $15 student and can be purchased in advance through the Marin Onstage website:
 This is a small theater and performances are expected to sell out.  This is Our Youth won a host of awards both during its first run in 1996 and during the revival run this past year on Broadway.

Nominated for Three SF Regional Broadway World Awards! Winner for Best Leading Actress!

posted Dec 20, 2015, 8:24 PM by Bessie Zolno   [ updated Oct 22, 2016, 11:14 PM ]

I am so excited to have been nominated for 3 2015 Regional Broadway World Awards. I am nominated for my performances in The Living(LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY), Fiddler on the Roof(FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL), and as PERSON TO WATCH.  The Living is nominated for BEST PRODUCTION BY YOUTH.

In followup news, I am thrilled to have won in the category of  Best Leading Actress in a Play, for my portrayal of John Graunt in OakTechRep's genderbending production of The Living by Anthony Clarvoe!

Short notice: "The Wolves" at SF Playhouse: Staged Reading on Sunday, November 22nd, 7pm

posted Nov 15, 2015, 11:09 AM by Bessie Zolno   [ updated Nov 20, 2015, 11:28 PM ]

I am honored to be asked to participate in a staged reading of Sarah Lappe's  The Wolves which has just been announced as the 2015 co-winner of the Relentless Award, given by the American Playwriting Foundation.  This staged reading of The Wolves is sponsored by SF Playhouse and will take place at 7 pm on Sunday, November 22, 2015 at SF Playhouse:  450 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94102.  The director is Tracy Ward and the plot involves a girl's soccer team.  My character is known by her jersey number:  #46.  This event is free and open to the public!     Enjoy a talkback with the cast and creative team after the reading.

UP NEXT: The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard

posted Aug 10, 2015, 10:32 PM by Bessie Zolno   [ updated Aug 10, 2015, 10:34 PM ]

I am home from my travels and have already launched into rehearsals for Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing at Masquers Playhouse in RIchmond.   The show opens on August 28th and runs through September 26th.   Friday and Saturday evening performances start at 8 pm every weekend.  There are also three Sunday matinees (September 6th, 13th, and 20th) at 2 pm.   Tickets are $22.00 each and can be purchased online or at the box office.  See for more information

First Review: "Fiddler Soars in Novato"

posted Mar 28, 2015, 12:11 PM by Bessie Zolno   [ updated Mar 28, 2015, 12:19 PM ]

"Highlights include:  The three daughters . . . All Excellent.  I especially liked Zolno, that rare performer who can act, sing and dance ("triple threat").
--Clark Miller,

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