Gracie and the Atom
April 27, 2010 - May 30, 2010
By McKinley
Directed By Allen Nause


A new musical from the popular local singer-songwriter and member of Dirty Martini.  When Gracie loses her father, she is sent off to Catholic school, where Sister Lidwina preaches physics and Sister Francis dissects the Gospels. As she searches for the mother she never knew, her classmates help her with the details of purgatory, Ouija boards, and superhero saints. But nothing in this new territory of protons and prayer can fully prepare Gracie for the new life ahead of her.

Gracie and the Atom received its first workshop production at Artists Rep during the 2008 Fertile Ground New Works Festival and is now making its World Premiere.


Gracie  Beth Sobo*
Angela Brooke Markham
Lauren  Marissa Neitling
Gabriella  Melissa Murray
Christa  Kylie Clarke Johnson
Sister Lidwina    Emily Beleele*
Sister Francis         Mary Baird







Band Leader/Keyboards   Clay Giberson
Drums  Mike Snyder
Bass  Dave Captein
Guitar  Cameron Morgan 






Musical Director  Clay Giberson
Set Designer  Jeff Seats 
Lighting Designer  Jeff Forbes
Sound Designer Rodolfo Ortega 
Costume Designer Darin Pufall
Props Designer  Mina Kinukawa
Stage Manager Toni McDowell-Laney *
Production Assistant     Laura Timm-Kreitzer
 Choreographer  Jessica Wallenfels







*Member of Actor’s Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

+ Equity Membership Candidate

^ Member Artists Rep Resident Acting Company

Gracie, a high school sophomore and non-Catholic, is sent to an all-girls Catholic boarding school when her father suddently dies.  Having never known her mother, Gracie is alone and confused.  She finds friendship in her classmates, who also help get her up to speed on a lifetime of missing catechism and religious tradition.  In class she struggles to reconcile what she is learning from Sister Francis in Religion class and Sister Lidwina in Physics. While one teaches Archimedes, the other talks of Jesus walking on water.  As she tries to make sense of her new surroundings, she also longs for the loss of her father, and wonders about the identity of her mother.

Recommended for high school and adult audiences.

McKinley is a writer, musician and mechanical engineer.  She is a member of the local band, Dirty Martini and is the host of the Discovery Channel show, "Under New York".  Gracie and the Atom is her first musical.

Read The Oregonian's article about "Under New York."

Check out the new video trailer, created by Michael Ward
Click here to see a schedule of Audience Enrichment Events 
Click here to see photos of the set design
Click here to read an interview with playwright McKinley
Click here to hear McKinley and Marissa Neitling on KINK
Click here to read an interview with Musical Director Clay Giberson
Click here to hear McKinley and Mariss on KBOO's Stage & Studio

Gracie and the Atom was workshopped by Artists Rep during the 2009 Fertile Ground New Works Festival.  The script and music are now being refined in preparation for the musical's World Premiere in April 2010. Samples of the music can be heard at


Darci Swindells

 Tektronix logo Oregon Cultural TrustHoward S. Wright

NEA  Columbia Sportswear



US Bank 

The Reviews...

"...whipsmart and bittersweet Catholic schoolgirl musical..." says Portland Monthly Magazine, click here to read the full review.

"(The musical) has an intriguing core idea, a lovely pop score, and oodles of intelligence and wit."- The Oregonian.

Check out The Oregonian's Preview article here

"...warm-hearted, very funny, thoroughly entertaining show with a long list of virtues." says The Oregonian, click here for the full review.

"This was a humorous yet touching indie musical...The songs were catchy and did a nice job telling the story." - Audience Member

"It was FANTASTIC. The writing, the musicians and the performance were excellent!" - Audience Member

"I alternately cried and wanted to get up and dance!" - Audience Member

"The music, the talent, the lyrics...
It's one of the BEST shows I've seen in Portland." - Audience Member

"...charming, heart-warming play with fantastic music, delightful dancing and an exceptional cast." - Audience Member

"This was a joyful play that made my wife and I laugh and cry. Wonderful." - Audience Member

"Gracie and the Atom, singer/songwriter McKinley’s first musical, fills the stage at Artists Repertory Theater with an interesting debate between science and God, the vibrant energy, both angst-filled and joyful, of teen-aged girls in a Catholic boarding school, plus a collection of likable, intelligent songs," says Oregon Music News, click here for the full review.

"Gracie is a bright, bubbly and boisterous musical treat," says Pacific NW Theatre. Click here for the full review.

Tickets for Artists Rep's 2014/15 season are on sale now! Click on the link below to purchase or call our Box Office at 503.241.1278.