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Nell Nolan does it for the money, honey

Times-Picayune social columnist Nell Nolan may be best known for her alliterative, clever communiques about the city’s social happenings, but she has many other talents. She’s a linguist who’s fluent in French, has a wicked sense of humor and is known around town for her adept presence on stage.

Nell Nolan: Creating New Orleans monologues for a cause

So it’s no wonder that Nell is donning all of those other hats (well, not the bilingual one, as far as I know) for a two-performance-only set at Mid-City Theater this weekend. And she’s unabashedly doing it for the money.

“Monologues and Musings … for Money, Honey” will give proceeds to dashTHIRTYdash, a nonprofit organization that is trying to raise the equivalent of one month’s rent or mortgage payment for every person who lost a job due to the recent changes at The Times-Picayune. It’s a good cause, well worth the $25 price of admission. But I’m betting the audience will get more than their money’s worth in entertainment.

Nell is as polished at performing as she is at prose. Her local turns on stage have ranged from “Love Letters” with Dennis Waltering at Southern Rep to a self-scribed “Pineapple in a Can” monologue for the food-oriented theatrical event, “Meanwhile, Back at Cafe du Monde …” Not to mention her winning tango performances at back-to-back galas for Bridge House.

“I’m doing the show to call attention to the many people whose lives will be changed by all the severances at The TP — a show of sympathy and solidarity!” Nell explains. “Also, because I have created seven memorable women in the female monologues — five for me, two for Ashley — and want the audiences to get to know them. We’ll just have to carry on after Isaac. The monologues show must go on.”

Political cartoonist/stand-up comic Steve Kelly

Joining Nell onstage will be equally talented thespians Steve Kelly and Ashley Nolan, with Mid-City Theater’s Fred Nuccio directing.

Steve, currently the political cartoonist at the TP, has a lesser-known but no less funny alter ego as a stand-up comic. You might have caught him once upon a time on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, or in person at An Evening at the Improv or Comic Strip Live.

Rounding out the trio is well-known local actress/director (and Nell’s real-life niece) Ashley Nolan, whose recent elegant rendition of Gertrude in Hamlet at Tulane’s Summer Shakespeare Festival was, in critic Theodore Mahne’s words, “the most sympathetic portrayal of the queen I can recall seeing.”

The three actors promise some memorable only-in-New Orleans moments. Meanwhile, there’s no doubt that their hearts will be in their performances; Nell and Steve were among those who lost their jobs when The TImes-Picayune announced it was cutting publication to three days a week and moving to more of a digital presence. Nell, however, will be penning three columns a week as a contributor to the paper.

Hopefully, that will leave her plenty of time for languages, stagecraft and tangos.


  • What: An original series of sketches by Nell Nolan, Steve Kelly and Ashley Nolan.
  • When: Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m.
  • Where: Mid-City Theatre, 3540 Toulouse Street; free parking, cash bar
  • Tickets: $25; call the box-office at (504) 488-1460 for reserved seats up front at $40 per
Renee Peck is editor of NolaVie.


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