When people ask Kelly Haramis where she is from, she may as well answer “it’s complicated.” Ok, this is a slight exaggeration. Kelly’s parents—Manhattan-ites by birth—had opened a restaurant and variety store on the Delaware River in upstate New York. She spent her early years in the mid-Atlantic nether regions before moving to Deltona, Florida, for her middle and high school years. There, when Kelly was 11, she made her stage debut as Doris in “Sugar & Spite” at Stetson University’s Stover Theatre. The next year, she took a star turn as Goldilock’s defense attorney in “The Trial of Amanda Marie Locks.” Drama Club, acting classes, a few high school plays, and acting competitions followed, but the non-dramatic life was about to intervene.
Yes, at 18, Kelly decided to major in Journalism and minor in Theatre Arts and Women’s Studies at Penn State. Although she has no regrets, she often wonders if she should have switched her major and minor. Her journalism adviser once said: “Are you sure you don’t want to major in Theatre? You’re getting all A’s in your Theatre classes.” At the same time, Kelly joined the staff of Penn State’s 20,000+ daily newspaper, The Daily Collegian. After graduation, she moved to Ithaca, NY—married Davis Schneiderman, became a vegetarian, and got promoted to news editor of The Ithaca Journal newspaper.
In the journalism years, Kelly occasionally dipped into the theatre world, taking classes here and there, and performing in “The Vagina Monologues” in 2001 at the Firehouse Theatre in Ithaca. Before long, Kelly worked for a 1,000,000+ circulation weekly Woman’s World magazine in northern New Jersey. She gave her notice to join her husband, now a professor at Lake Forest College, in the Chicago area.
Kelly landed as a copy editor at The Chicago Tribune. A few years later, Kelly was writing and editing for the Sunday “Q” section. She covered everything from beauty products to fashion shows to parenting. Kelly interviewed Beyonce, Salma Hayek, and Ali Hewson (a.k.a. Mrs. Bono). And, she started the adoption process. Publicly.
Her monthly column, “Journey to Adoption,” began in 2005 and charted the long process to adopt her daughter, Athena, from China. Over the two-years she wrote this column, Kelly received hundreds of letters from others touched by adoption and Kelly’s column. When she finally traveled to China in January 2007, her live blog, “The Sunshine Chronicles,” drew an equally strong reception. Six months after Athena’s adoption—yes, six months—her second daughter, Kallista, arrived the old-fashioned way.
All the while, the journalism industry and the Tribune were in mad freefall. All Kelly could keep thinking about was theatre, specifically improv. Fast-forward a few years, and Kelly is again a meat eater, and also a graduate of the Second City Conservatory as well as the iO Chicago Training Center. She performs with her improv troupe Old Smuggler. She writes everything from a future children’s book to scenes with her husband Davis as part of The Exquisite Corpse Festival in NYC. She watches her children grow with amazing speed through each passing day. And she writes, of course, most recently telling the story of her journey to adoption, her daughters, and her parents in her one-woman show: Double Happiness: A Tale of Love, Loss, and One Forever Family.