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Finding Center Stage

by Shelby Kardell | July 13, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Kitrina Tinnin's experience with musicals eventually led to co-founding her band, Magnolia Wine, where they play music ranging from Chris Stapleton to Christina Aguilera. “With a little Stevie Nicks thrown in for flavor,” she said (Photo/Shelby Kardell).

A little more than ten years ago, Kitrina Tinnin was bitten by the acting bug.

The singer and actress is a frequent performer with Capital City Productions and also occasionally performs with The Little Theater of Jefferson City and Scene One Theatre, the local black box theater.

Tinnin said acting was always something she wanted to pursue but didn’t have the opportunity to until later in life. “On a whim, I thought, ‘I’m going to audition for a show and see what happens,’” she said. She was selected for a sub-principal role and has been acting and singing ever since.

Although the theater is frequently seen as an extrovert’s world, Tinnin said she doesn’t act because she craves attention. For her, it’s an opportunity to explore different personalities and characters.

“I’m not worried about whether or not you like Katrina, because Katrina is not the person onstage,” she said. “I get to escape who I am and not worry about whether or not you like me personally.”.

She said her goal is always to leave her audience thinking, ‘Wow, that was amazing. I want to come back.’

“In Jefferson City, a performance with dinner and a ticket is not the cheapest night out, so I want to give you your money’s worth,” she said. “That’s what fuels me.”

Many of Tinnin’s favorite roles have been principal roles, including roles played by famous actresses such as Dolly Parton, Meryl Streep and Allison Janney. Although she admires their work, she says that she always strives for her own interpretation.

“You don’t want to completely emulate what they did — you want to make it your own — but it’s pretty cool to fill the shoes of a role of that caliber,” she said.

One of Tinnin’s favorite parts was in the play “August: Osage County” which she described as a “really heavy, dark drama.” She played the role of Violet, a drug-addicted alcoholic who is physically and verbally abusive to her family members.

Different from her previous roles, Tinnin said that playing Violet was very emotionally charged.

“It certainly stretched my limits and boundaries as an actor,” she said. “It was just the most transformative role because prior to that it was fake lashes, fake tan, and fun costumes. For someone who worries about what they look like most of the time, it was really liberating.”

Tinnin recently performed Ann-Margret’s role of Ariel Truax in the musical “Grumpy Old Men,” where she described exercising her creativity through her character’s wardrobe changes.

“My wardrobe changes were very thought out because as the show progressed, the character goes from wild California hippie to a Minnesota woman in sweaters and scarves,” she said. “It helped me to create her character when she was transforming who she was.”

With her early career as a real estate broker and raising children, pursuing acting wasn’t an option until she became an empty nester.

“It was something I always wanted to do, and I needed an outlet and a hobby to kill some free time,” Tinnin said.

Before auditioning for her first role with Capital City Productions, Tinnin had limited on-stage experience. Although she took choir in high school and was a butterfly in an eighth-grade play, she described her desire to be an actress as a “pipe dream.”

She said her first show was a musical and her first lead was in the musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” With zero previous singing experience aside from being “a rockstar in the shower and the car,” Tinnin surprised even her mother with her natural ability.

Her experience with musicals eventually led to co-founding her band, Magnolia Wine, where they play music ranging from Chris Stapleton to Christina Aguilera. “With a little Stevie Nicks thrown in for flavor,” she said.

Founded with two other singers, Tinnin said the band tries to perform at least once a month and already has several shows booked for this summer. They perform frequently for corporate events and charities and even opened for nationally known country artist Phil Vassar for their first paid performance.

Although dividing her time between her full-time job, her band and her Capital City Production performances involve a lot of work, Tinnin said that it is work she finds fulfilling.

“Time is something you kind of have to create, and you’re never too old,” she said. “You only get to do life once, so try all the things. Do it, go for it. You only get one shot!”


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