As a kid in Cleveland Ohio, I took acting classes at the Cleveland Playhouse and decided at age 9 I would be an actress. My parents, on the other hand, decided to encourage more concrete intellectual pursuits by sending me to Macduffie School for Girls - a rather severe boarding school in New England – which only doubled my resolve. Somehow I got accepted into Interlochen Arts Academy for my remaining years of high school and after graduating, I headed to England to study acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School – a glorious and invaluable experience.
Upon my return, while vacationing in Canada I ran across a book about Edith Piaf that truly changed my life, and when I heard the songs I’d read about, it became my mission to sing them myself. I started out replacing the coat rack of a small French restaurant in Cleveland once a week. Shortly thereafter, I was up to 5 weekly gigs in other venues, expanding my repertoire to include Dixieland blues and jazz, Broadway tunes and standards. All this singing got me my Equity card in a production of The Club playing Johnny, and soon I was on the road with A Chorus Line as Maggie, which led me to Broadway playing Diana. Morales, singing "What I Did for Love" every night.
I took a leave of absence from the show to go to Paris and learn to speak French. I fell in love with the city, met the man of my life, ended up living in Montmartre with him and working in jazz clubs and French theatre. I got the role of Grizabella in the original French production of CATS., did Les Z'Années Zazous at the Folies Bergère,and created the roles of l'Autruche and the Petit Caillou in Emilie Jolie at the Cirque d'Hiver, while dubbing an awful lot of films and cartoons during the day. I also performed with English theatre groups doing Glasshouse’s production of The Queens at the Théâtre des Déchargeurs ,Beverly in Abigail's Party, Tennessee Williams' Talk To Me Like The Rain.... and Arsinoé in The Misanthrope at the Petit Hébértot.
I love Paris, but never quite assimilated the French mindset which inspired me to write a one woman musical comedy based on being too American in Paris called If I Were Me… . It had really successful runs locally, so I took it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it got rave reviews, and was declared by the Daily Express to be #2 on their top ten list of shows not to be missed.
All this time I dreamed of coming back to New York to work. Thanks to the Edinburgh stint, I ended up stateside working with Stephen Schwartz and Joe Stein in The Baker’s Wife at Goodspeed, PaperMill Playhouse, and the York Theatre. Gordon Greenberg, who directed those shows asked me to be in Capital Rep’s production of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well… which subsequently had a great year long run Off Broadway.
Getting to record the Brel cast album inspired me to finally put out a CD of Piaf songs, half of which I translated and arranged and it’s now available on CDbaby.com. Now I want to do one of my favorite Dixieland tunes and get my one woman show about Piaf and me up here in New York.
Wish me luck !
Gosh. I forgot to mention that between all that other stuff, I wrote a one woman show about Piaf called “La Vie l’Amour” that played in Cleveland at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, in Dayton at the Victory Theatre and in Kansas City at the Missouri Rep. I’m working on a new one …… did I already say that?(?)