When people find out Lexingtonian Taylor Coriell is a New York-based actor, they usually ask, “Have I seen you in anything,” and she sheepishly replies, “No, not yet.”
“Now, I can say, ‘March 22nd, grab your tickets because I will literally be on a silver screen in front of your face,’ ” Coriell says.
She will appear in Easter Mysteries, a stage production that was filmed in New York over four performances. It will be shown in the theaters nationwide, similar to the way Metropolitan Opera Live HD performances and concerts and classic films are shown. In Central Kentucky, it will be shown at the Fayette Mall and Richmond Centre cinemas.
“My mom, who lives in Kentucky along with my grandparents and my brother, and my sister lives in Kansas, and I have family in California too, and all of them will be able to go see something that I was in,” Coriell says. “It’s pretty cool to sit in a theater in New York and know I am watching a movie I’m in at the same time my mom and the rest of my family across the country.”
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The film comes from John O’ Boyle, who has Tony and Drama Desk awards, and depicts the passion of Jesus Christ in a contemporary musical setting.
“There’s a lot I like about this show,” Coriell says. “What I really like is you don’t have to be a Christian for the message to resonate with you. It uses the story of Jesus and his followers to focus on universal themes of love and friendship.
“It really struck me during rehearsals that Jesus and his followers weren’t really thinking about the historical implications of what was going on like we think about it now. Like to Peter and Mary, when they lost Jesus, they weren’t losing a savior. They were losing a friend. Anyone who has experienced a loss of any kind would be moved by this piece.”
Coriell plays several characters, including an angel who comes to Jesus when he is on the cross. She got the role through contacts she has made over her last four years in New York City.
“They were looking for musical theater actors who have legit, or operatic, training, which I do, since I went to UK,” Coriell says.
Coriell grew up in Lexington and graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) at Lafayette High School. From there, she entered the voice program at UK and became a regular stage presence is UK Opera and in area productions including Olive in the Woodford Theatre’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
In the summer of 2011, after graduation from UK, Coriell got the tres Kentucky role of Jane McDowell in the annual summer production of The Stephen Foster Story at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown.
In May 2012, she made the move to New York to start a career as a professional actor. She was in a number of regional theater productions and then set her sights on making her own luck.
“In the last few years, I branched out into writing and producing a little bit,” Coriell says. “I wrote my own web series, and we produced the pilot for that, we shot it in December, and I think just having that process of creating my own work I found out a lot about myself and what I’m good at as an actor.
“I think at a certain point when you’re in New York, L.A., Chicago, or one of those major markets, everybody is talented. You have to figure out what is special or unique about you, where your voice is served the best and where it can serve other people’s project the best.
“I’m lucky to be here as long as I’ve been, and I plan to be here a lot longer.”