LEWISTON — Nakesha “Kay” Warren was in a high school theater class where they’d never actually performed any theater when a new, long-term substitute walked in and asked what the day’s plans were.

“(The kids told her), ‘We’re playing cards today,’ and she was like, ‘Oh, no, no, no,'” remembers Warren, 37.

The substitute took out a play she had written, “The Damsel in Distress,” about princesses who save themselves, cast the class and it was on.

For Warren, who played the fairy godmother last summer in Maine State Music Theatre’s “Cinderella,” it turned out performing was a perfect fit.

“I’m actually very much an introvert,” she said. “I loved being a part of (‘Damsel’) so much, it forced myself to get over that part of me. I still get stage fright and every time I go out, I have to talk myself out on stage, but I love it. After that, I did theater every chance I got.”

Warren, originally from Detroit, had a father in the U.S. Navy and moved around a lot as kid. He transferred from Florida to Maine when she was 15.

“We came in December. It was a huge shock to us,” she said. “Then we all fell in love with it, our whole family.”

Her first play with Brunswick’s The Theater Project was “Charlotte’s Web.”

Her first play with Community Little Theatre was unintentional.

In 2010, her sister had gotten a role in CLT’s “Children of Eden.”

“She was so nervous. She was like, ‘Come with me to rehearsal,’ so I went with her to rehearsal, and when I walked in, they were like, ‘Hey, here’s a book, here’s a CD and you’re going to be great.’ I was like, ‘Oh, no,'” Warren said. “We both did it. I never left after that.”

She has performed in 20 to 25 shows at CLT, and now executive producer there, she’s been backstage in about 50. Most recently, she directed “The Music Man” in the fall.

Warren has also performed with M&D Playhouse in North Conway, New Hampshire, and Monmouth Community Players. The fairy godmother role was her first time out with Maine State Music Theatre.

It was also her first role interacting with kids in the audience, and “probably the best experience I’ve ever had,” she said.

Instead of magic cleaning the house, kids were invited onstage to clean for each performance, becoming part of the show.

“We picked four or five kids, but one performance we had like 10 just rush the stage,” Warren said. “I was like, ‘Great, come on up!'”

Warren lives in Lewiston and works at Wayfair in Brunswick. She has a goal of acting in New York or Boston, and one bucket list role: Rose from “Fences.”

“I feel like theater saved me,” Warren said. “I wasn’t outgoing. I didn’t have many friends. When I started doing theater, I found this new confidence in myself. I didn’t realize I was missing anything until this. As a teenager, realizing that you can be more than who you think you are is really eye-opening.”

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Nakesha “Kay” Warren of Lewiston as the fairy godmother in last summer’s “Cinderella” by the Maine State Music Theatre. (Submitted photo)