Clown Gym presents Once Upon a Clown: a love letter to musical physical theatre.

Devised in the fall of 2023 for the inaugural PhysFestNYC

January 8, 2024 at the Stella Adler Center for the Arts in PhysFestNYC

We made this love letter to physical theatre and Sondheim for PhysFest in the best way we know possible: as clowns. Thanks for joining us!


Devised by the Clown Gym Ensemble

Performers: Kevin Allen, Julia Proctor, Rachel Resnik, Aya Tucker, and Nadav Wiesel

Director: Julia Proctor

Music Director: Nadav Wiesel

Stage Manager: Francesca Piccioni

Production Manager: Rachel Resnik

Kevin Allen (he/him) is an actor & writer. He’ll co-star as Principal Isaacs in the upcoming feature film, Fakes. Kevin was the understudy for Dad/Obama in the national tour of Jabari Dreams of Freedom. As a writer, Kevin is a member of the Writers Guild of America, a Black List quarterfinalist & a Big Apple Film Festival semifinalist. When not writing or performing, Kevin teaches Iyengar Yoga to adults & children. Kevin would like to thank his fellow clowns, his wife, Brooke, and his family & friends for their love and support.

Francesca Piccioni (they/she) is a graduate of University of the Arts (Acting ’13) and has performed in both theatre and film. They fell in love with clown through the lense of Pochinko and connected with ClownGymin 2019. They have been stage managing for Clown Gym since 2021 as well as other solo shows in New York.

Julia Proctor (she/her) is an educator, collaborator, and community builder. She is the Founding Director of Clown Gym, NYC’s community clown hub, and is a Founding Producer of this festival. She devises and performs her own material, and loves collaborating with artists on smart, funny, and innovative theatre. Julia is a member of Actors Equity, has an MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting, and has trained with so many clown teachers. Julia currently teaches Physical Acting at NYU Tisch Drama specializing in Clown, Le Jeu, and Shakespeare and was Beanie Feldstein’s personal Clown Coach for the Broadway revival of Funny Girl.

Rachel Resnik (she/her) is a seasoned comedic performer with extensive clown training. She is known for her solo comedy shows, which she has toured internationally. Rachel holds a certificate in mask & physical theater from PadovArts Academy (formerly The School for Theater Creators) under Paola Coletto. She has also trained with Philippe Gaulier. She is a Resident Teacher at and the Production Manager of Clown Gym. Rachel directs and produces a monthly Clownprov show at Pinebox Rock Shop in New York City with her company, A Really Real Serious Collective the third Thursday of every month.

Aya Tucker (she/her) is a clown, physical theatre artist and certified Lucid Body instructor. Aya holds an MFA in Lecoq-Based Actor Created Theatre (Naropa University, hosted at LISPA). Her original clown act, Kiki and Ted, was nominated for The 2010 NY Downtown Clown Golden Nose Awards (Audience Choice Best Clown Act). Credits as a physical theatre artist include Hold Music (Sightline Arts; The 2011 NY Innovative Theatre Awards nominee for Outstanding Performance Art Production). After completing a year-long cohort mentorship, Aya has become one of the resident teachers at Clown Gym. She also works as a healthcare clown with Laughter League.

Nadav Wiesel is a NY based Israeli multidisciplinary theater artist, composer, lyricist and performer. Wiesel has performed in Scurry at Lincoln Center, and the Emperor’s New Clothes with New York’s Children’s Theater. He has toured with a cabaret of his music, Funny Little Heartbreaks in the US and Israel. As Composer-Lyricist, his works have been staged in Israel, New York and across Europe. His works include The Femme Fatale Show, The House by the Lake, and One Night in the Palace Escorial. Nadav is an advanced member of the BMI Musical Theater writing Workshop and a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s Theater Arts department.

Clown Gym started in 2014 as a collaborative member-sourced experiment in play. Over the years it has grown into New York City’s home for clown and physical comedy by building a thriving learning environment and community. Clown Gym’s mission is to build community, spread joy, and support artists as they embrace their humor, beauty, vulnerability, skill, intelligence, passion, and dreams. We do this through affordable high-quality training, teacher mentorship programming, new work development, performances, and community events focusing on clown and physical comedy.