Nelly Don Theatrical photo of the “Donnettes”

October 14, 2023

Lee’s Summit sisters Brooke and Kirsten Myers are featured in the new movie “Nelly Don the Musical Movie” currently playing in area theaters.

Growing up in Lee’s Summit the Myers sisters are Lee’s Summit High School graduates – Brooke in 2012 and Kirsten in 2016. They both work in the entertainment industry. Kirsten has recently been entertaining on a cruise line. Brooke works in theatre in the region choreographing “Sister Act” for Raytown High School, doing commercial work with Moxie Talent, and next month will travel to Warsaw, IN to be in Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts’ production of “A Christmas Carol.”

“It was a really awesome opportunity to get to work on Nelly Don with Kirsten,” Brooke says. ” Both of us are performers but our experiences/jobs have always taken us in different directions. This was the first time that we actually got to work on the same project and collaborate with each other in a professional setting. That was a very fun experience. Plus not a lot of people get the chance to work with their family in that [movie performance] capacity, so it was cool to get to do that.”

“Nelly Don the Musical Movie” is a biopic, musical drama that tells the sensational story of the protagonist, Nelly Don – a global fashion trailblazer whose Kansas City dress business sold a staggering 75 million dresses.

Acclaimed author, musician, and filmmaker Terence O’Malley, a Kansas City luminary, brings his creative vision to life as the producer, director, and lyricist within this extraordinary independent film. The making of the movie was a labor of love for O’Malley, born from his determination to restore his great aunt Nelly Don’s legacy. Legacies are something O’Malley thinks about as an attorney who specializes in wills and estates. The vivid tapestry of Nelly Don’s life made an impression on O’Malley as a child looking at his grandmother’s scrapbook of newspaper clippings and mementos she collected about her Aunt Nelly Don’s triumphs, the tumultuous kidnapping saga, and the gripping trials of her captors.

The idea to create a movie came after the overwhelming success of O’Malley’s musical about Nelly Don, which sold out in just four days in 2019. Esteemed musical director and composer Daniel Doss worked with O’Malley’s lyrics to craft memorable songs that propel the story throughout the film.

When the 2020 pandemic hit, O’Malley pivoted from seeking a venue to extend the live musical performances into producing a feature film capable of reaching a wider audience. Kansas City historic homes and sites were among some of the film locations used in production, including the former residence of Nelly Don’s husband, distinguished US Senator James A. Reed.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and working within a limited budget, O’Malley persevered. Filmmaking during the pandemic necessitated plan changes, such as cast and crew replacements when someone tested positive for COVID. Yet, the pandemic opened up locations that would typically have been too busy for filming. The unique circumstances also proved advantageous in casting top-tier talent, given live productions were not operating nationwide. The massive movie-making endeavor was aided by a motivated team of over one hundred professionals living in the Kansas City metro, including actors, casting, costume and set designers, stylists, choreographers, production assistants, musicians, stagehands, and cinematographers.