The Elephant in My Closet

[dcs_heading size=”2″ align=”left” sub=”Keeping Watch, New York, NY”]The Elephant in My Closet[/dcs_heading]

Venue Art Academy – Auditorium
Running Time 75 minutes
First Time? New Participant
Connect with  
Tags Theatre, Solo,
Multimedia, Politcs





Friday, May 31 @ 7:15pm
Sunday, June 2 @ 3:00pm
Tuesday, June 4 @ 7:00pm
Thursday, June 6 @ 7:00pm
Saturday, June 8 @ 7:00pm


[dcs_flat_tabs tab1=”The Basics” tab2=”About the Artists” tab3=”Reviews” tab4=”Media”]


Me. Coming out to my father. As a Democrat.

The Elephant in My Closet is writer and comedian David Lee Nelson’s madcap dash through the history of the Republican Party and his own political past, as he works up the nerve to tell his staunchly conservative father his worst nightmare has come true: his only son is a Democrat.

“4 Stars” -Time Out, New York 
“This play is more than a merry memoir, it’s a hilarious history lesson told in accurate side-splitting detail” -NYC Stage Review
“This elephant in worth your vote” -Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
“Best of Fest”- Out of the Loop Festival 2013 (Dallas, TX)

Four weeks before opening, I was complaining to Adam Knight (director/co-creator) and Kristin Vieira (Dramaturg) about having difficulty figuring out the end of the play. They screamed- “that’s because you haven’t told your father you’re a Democrat yet.” I said-“you mean- I’ve really got to do that?”




Keeping Watch was founded in 2007. Its mission is to create exciting theatre, with a special emphasis on solo performance.

David Lee Nelson (Writer/Performer) has created two previous solo shows: Silence of Lucky (78th Street Theatre Lab, Piccolo Spoleto Festival) and Status Update (Out of the Loop Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 59E59 in NYC, Piccolo Spoleto Festival), and was named “Best Touring Production” of the 2010/2011 theatre season by the Dallas/Ft. Worth Critics. Other NYC acting: Stupid F**cking Bitch by Lucy Alibar (EST/Youngblood) and Binge by Thomas Ward (Slant Theatre Project). Regional acting: Keeping Watch (Piccolo Spoleto); Hamlet, Arms and the Man, Merry Wives of Windsor (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Much Ado About Nothing (Warehouse Theatre). Film: Codependant Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (Sundance, MoMA). BA: College of Charleston. MFA: Alabama Shakespeare Festival. David is also a nationally touring stand up comedian, and is working on his first full-length play.

Adam Knight (Director and Co-Creator) previously collaborated with David Lee Nelson on Status Update and Silence of Lucky. He is co-founder of NYC’s Slant Theatre Project, where he has directed new plays by Michele Lowe, Bekah Brunstetter, Matt Dellapina, Mat Smart, and Thomas Ward. Other directing includes premieres by Lucy Alibar, Lawrence Dial, and Jennie Berman Eng, and venues such as Ars Nova, EST/Youngblood, HERE Arts Center, Millbrook Playhouse, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Abingdon Theatre Company, and the Strasberg Institute. Regional: Warehouse Theatre, WaterTower Theatre/Out of the Loop festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival. Assistant/Associate credits include Manhattan Theatre Club, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Williamstown, and the world premiere of Sam Shepard’s Heartless at Signature Theatre. Undergrad: University of Evansville.

Kristin Vieira (Dramaturg) has worked as a dramaturg on numerous workshops and productions of new plays such as Binge by Thomas Ward (Slant Theatre Project), The Last Seven Words of Christ created by Scott Alan Evans (Chamber Society of Lincoln Center), Off Compass by Kelly Younger (John Gassner New Play Festival) and Missing Celia Rose by Ian August (NYC Summer Play Festival). B.A. Literature and Theatre Arts, Emmanuel College; M.F.A. Dramaturgy, Stony Brook University.

Past Fringe Festivals:

(2011) Edinburgh Fringe Festival, David Lee Nelson…Status Update
(2011) 59E59 East to Edinburgh Festival, David Lee Nelson…Status Update
(2011) Out of the Loop Festival, David Lee Nelson…Status Update
(2010) Piccolo Spoleto Festival, David Lee Nelson…Status Update
(2008) Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Silence of Lucky




WCPO: Interview with David Lee Nelson: By- Eileen Fritsch


The Elephant in My Closet: By-Rodger Pille

Cincinnati Enquirer:

Fringe Review: Audience stands for tenderness, politics of "Elephant"- By: Jackie Demaline

Behind the Curtain Cincinnati:

The Elephant In My Closet (Review)- By: Rob Bucher






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  1. We're looking very much forward to performing alongside Keeping Watch in The Cincinnati Fringe Festival. The battle of Republicans vs. Democrats can certainly be viewed with lots of humor. Can't wait to see the performance! Best wishes! 

    Unity Productions 
    Facebook Page: 
    Fringe Page:

  2. I SOOOOO WANT TO COME SEE THIS! It would be pretty funny to bring Momma Mae too :)

  3. Randy Waterhous

    1*- Sorry I saw it
    2*- Glad I saw it
    3*- I recommend it
    4*- I would see it again
    And a second rating to cover degrees of weirdness ( a Fringe Festival standard)
    Fringy, Fringier, Fringiest

    The Elephant in my Closet

    Randy 4* Suzana 3*   Fringy

    I am a real sucker for a well done autobiographical one person show done with humor, larger meaning, and skill. This was one of those. The topic, however, was from a much overlooked minority in America, the born and raised right wing Republican who converts to being a Democrat. It was rich in humor and history, two of my favorite interests. It was really about the personal, familial consequences of changing fundamentally held beliefs. It is funny, touching, enlightening, and educational. See it.

    • Randy Waterhous

      Saw it again last night, and enjoyed it again. My four guests enjoyed it as well. Full house- excellent.

  4. David Lee Nelson

    Thanks so much Randy!

  5. Christine Wands

    Of course, I loved this.  I'm a liberal.  I doubt that a Republican would have a good time at this show (and that would be just fine with me).

    David is an engaging performer — you like him immediately, which helps him to keep your attention for the 75 minutes of the show.  However, a little editing might have helped, perhaps cutting it back to 60 minutes.

    That aside, the show is wonderfully well-written, and he uses graphic displays effectively so that the more visual among us don't get lost in the history lessons.  The graphics he chose are in many cases terrifically funny, letting us laugh at Dubya who seems to resemble Alfred E. Newman more and more as the show continues (or is that because he just does?)..

    Mr. Nelson is a terrific storyteller, and if I weren't trying to see every show at the Fringe, I'd see his show again.




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