early experience & training
Growing up in Ohio, I wanted to be an actress from as young an age as I can remember. At 13, I wrote a letter to a well-known director of a popular TV show, and suggested he write me into the series. (!!??) Incredulously, he wrote back!
He told me that if I really wanted to be an actress, "understand that disappointment will be the understatement of the day". This insight was of course totally lost on me, until years later. But I did heed his suggestion to get an education in theatre arts. I attended Ohio University for two years, before transferring to California Institute of the Arts. There, I was exposed to Shakespeare, Chekhov, Williams and Brecht and became totally enamored by this fascinating craft called "acting".
After graduating, I started getting work in commercials and industrials, and even got my SAG card playing a secretary on television's Trapper John, MD, directed by....(guess who?)... my Hollywood pen-pal, Earl Bellamy.
Later that year, I got my Equity card playing Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Though I was thrilled, I felt way out of my element. The text felt like a straight-jacket. My voice was strained and I didn't know what to do with my body.
Luckily, I was cast in another Shakespeare play soon after, and then another...and with the chance to keep jumping back into this material, I eventually started to develop some technique. One day, I realized that I was acting on the line, and that the language felt integrated with my voice and body. I discovered that the verse was not restrictive at all, but totally freeing. I was hooked!
Over the years, Shakespeare and other classical playwrights have been my greatest teachers. As well as many incredible director/mentors, including Mrs. Whyte, my high school English teacher, with an infectious passion for Shakespeare, the late Gill Dennis, with an eye for truth, the late Robert Ellenstein, with an inspiring work ethic, and the incredible Ellen Geer, with her celebration of the human spirit. It is wonderfully humbling to know that its my turn to pass on what I have learned from them all.