Thursday, December 28, 2017

Looking back to look ahead

My friend, Tina, always reminds me to take a look at what I've accomplished over the year, and this one has been lush with artistic adventures and financial rewards. I am very thankful, especially since some of these gigs have already propelled me into new bookings for 2018.

It all started with Dear Evan Hansen. My friend, Wendy, was bringing her family to the city for the first time, and asked if I'd like to go to a show with them. "Of course!" I said. And she asked for recommendations, so I sent her some info about Dear Evan Hansen. This was at the start of the New Year, so it hadn't become as difficult to get to tickets. Well, Wendy knew one of the actresses in it:  Kristolyn Lloyd, who played Alana, so that sealed the deal!

In the midst of this, I was called in for Truvy in Steel Magnolias for Stomping Ground Theatre Company in NYC. When I got the callback, I had to ask to leave early so I could make the 7 PM curtain for Dear Evan Hansen. The director, Angela Shultz, was fantastically understanding, as she was going to see the show the week after callbacks. So I did my scene and then dashed off to the theatre.

After seeing Dear Evan Hansen, which was amazing, we went backstage and then onstage to meet Kristolyn. She was marvelous, and Wendy told her how I was in callbacks for Steel Magnolias, so we were all in the biz! It was an incredible night, to say the least.

And I booked Steel Magnolias. :)

After that, the year flew! I did an interview with Indie Activity, guest-starred on The Mike Jones Show, made my debut at Signature Theatre, one of my favorite Off Broadway theatres. I got to revisit Pat the Park Ranger for a professional recording of The Park Ranger song from Sasquatched the Musical! for composers Darg & Rayne. And I revisited The Singing Nun for producer George DeMarco's birthday concert!

I also re-teamed with Kristen Penner and Lorelei MacKenzie, writers of Pageant Princess, for a reading of a much more serious pop musical about identity called, "Pieces." I got to sing, "Move On," from Sunday in the Park with George for Stomping Ground's cabaret, Perspectives, and I was called back 3 times and put "on avail" for a commercial! Woo!

I booked the role of Joey in the web series, Human Telegraphs (coming out next year), played Linus' therapist in It's The Pumpkin Part 2 by the fabulous playwright, Joe Gulla, and started filming fun bits and pieces with sketch friends.

My most recent project is, Laura Loves NY, which was inspired by my friend, Tina, who said she wanted to see some of my adventures in the city. I recently filmed with PLANT star, Liz Days (Plant The Second Coming is on Amazon!), and she showed me around Bryant Park. Liz is hilarious, and I can't wait to go adventuring with her and many other Manhattanites in 2018!

Looking forward to the next adventure! I already have some gigs in the hopper, so there's good things coming!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

A long time ago....

... in a desert town far, far away, I grew up wielding light sabers and traveling in imaginary spaceships with my cat, Spookie, who reluctantly filled the furry slippers of a Wookie.

I'll always be glad my dad was a sci-fi nut and took our family to the drive-in to see Star Wars that Summer of '77. At $2 a car, we went and saw this movie to the point where I could quote it. I even got the record and jammies that Christmas:

So every time a new episode comes out for Star Wars, that 8 year old version of me does a happy dance and gets ready to join the battle of Good vs. Evil.

May The Force be with you. Always.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Terrific Teams

Last weekend, I filmed a sketch with the fabulous Wayne Henry, whom I've worked with for several years. He brought me on board with this wonderful cast, all of whom were deliciously talented. We spent most of the shoot cracking each other up! And afterwards, we were all abuzz with ideas and stories about Art and The Biz.

This is something I just LOVE, the energy that bubbles up amongst artists when they're in the groove and creating something as a team.

I've been so lucky to do a tremendous amount of that this year, working with terrific teams to create wonderful productions for the stage and on various screens.

It started with Steel Magnolias at Stomping Ground Theatre Company:

The co-founders, Angela Shultz and Melissa Harlow, the crew, the team spirit of SGT was simply amazing! It was everything theatre should be.

Then I re-teamed with Darg and Rayne for The Pound at the Signature Theatre. SO excited to have had my debut at this amazing Off Broadway theatre!

We also managed to record my big Park Ranger song from Sasquatched The Musical

Then I joined my Pageant Princess creators, Lorelei McKenzie and Kristen Penner, for a reading of the new pop musical, Pieces:

I went back to Stomping Ground Theatre Company to sing for their cabaret, Perspectives:

And I just wrapped filming with the incredible team behind Human Telegraphs:

 What a crew!

I feel so thankful to have worked with so many talented people this year, and I'm grateful they've invited me into their wonderful worlds, telling unique stories with heart and humor!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Human Telegraphs

A few weeks ago, I guest-starred on this delightful new web series called, Human Telegraphs.

It's a charming show about 3 friends who decide to create an in-person messaging service, and they find themselves conveying very personal messages: everything from "I'm leaving you" to "You shoulda put a ring on it!" The humor is delicious, and the thing that really gets me is the HEART behind each story. 

Created by Three Bright Lights Productions - Kayla Conroy, Rachel Kay Barclay, and Fern Lim - these ladies are GO-GETTERS! I met them in May when they had me in to read for a few characters,  and then they contacted me in October to play "Joey," a whacky real estate gal from Brooklyn.

I had so much fun, working and playing with these gals! I'm in episode 4: "H Team vs. the Pemberlies"

The crew was mainly women - Samantha Pyra was the Cinematographer - but there were some marvelous men on set as well, particularly Michael Parker Kozak on Sound.

As our Script Supervisor, Alia Azamat said, "Professionalism has no gender."

"Only got a New York minute?" Check out the trailer here:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!!!!

I've always loved Halloween! Playing dress-up has always been one of my favorite things. When I was a kid, I'd dive into my mother's closet, which held all sorts of treasures from the '70s like silver sandals, metallic belts with chunky turquoise, flowy nighties, and fun falls (hair extensions), and I'd emerge looking like a mini diva! At least, I felt fabulous! :)

My mom was awesome about making Halloween outfits. One of my favorites was Princess Leia. Observe the previously mentioned metal belt!

And of course, there was Wonder Woman, whom I emulated last year too :)

No wonder I became an actor! I get to dress up and play every day! :)

And I'm so lucky, because my husband is right with me!

Gotta fly! Have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Honor your playful, magical side. You're super!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Stomping Ground Theatre Company's Cabaret

Last weekend was LUSH!

I got to sing for Stomping Ground Theatre Company's cabaret, celebrating their 1st Anniversary in New York City! What an incredible amount of work this company has done in a year, and they're zooming into the next one!

They focus not only on new musicals, but on productions that empower people and tell stories from the heart. Thus, they got the rights to and produced Steel Magnolias last Spring, and I had the good fortune of playing Truvy! What an honor!

Then they did the new musical, Strike, based on the true story of Barbara Johns, a high school junior show led the entire student body of Robert Russa Moto high School to walk out in protest of their school's conditions.

And now they're producing "Christmas Letters," a musical they did a reading of last Fall. It'll be in full production for this Christmas :)

A song from that show was featured in the cabaret SGT hosted last weekend, and, to quote my husband, "The cabaret blew me away! Every single performer was unique and brimming with talent!"

There were 17 songs and 1 stand-up piece, the latter of which was done by Katie Donnelly, who played Annelle in Steel Magnolias (below left). She is off-the-charts funny, and I'm so honored I got to share the stage with her! More Magnolias lent their talents, including Anna Laura Strider, the gorgeous redhead below, who played our Shelby and hosted the evening. Our director, Angela Shultz, (bottom right), brought the house down with her rendition of "Not Getting Married Today," and our Oiser, Rebecca Hoodwin (top right below), gave us a sweet taste of "Georgia (on my mind)."

I sang, "Yes," by Cabaret masters, Kander and Ebb.

Then I sang the duet, "Move On" with Scott Koonce from Sunday in the Park With George.

Since the cabaret was called, "Perspectives," this song fit so beautifully since it's about an artist trying to find his own way of making "something new."

As Sondheim wrote, "Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new. Give us more to see."

Stomping Ground is conducting a fundraiser to get some headset mics for their space, so if you can, please help them MAKE SOME NOISE! Thank you!

Friday, September 29, 2017


I've been working on my songs for Stomping Ground Theatre Company's cabaret, Perspectives. There are a bunch of talented people performing, honoring SGT's work for the past year, and it's a joy to be on the bill with them! Scott Koonce is directing and Brett Kristofferson is our marvelous piano man. There are even a few songs of Brett’s which are being sung.

It's also a mini reunion with 4 of the Steel Magnolias, including Katie Donnelly, who rocked the house as Annelle; Rebecca Hoodwin (far right below as Oiser); our director, Angela Shultz (below right); and our Shelby, Anna Laura Strider, the gorgeous redhead in the middle, is the emcee for the cabaret.

I'm singing 2 songs for the show, and one of the things I love about singing is the homework that goes with it: practicing the music, finding how it feels to sing it, where it moves in my voice, which places need strengthening, how to let it flow. And then there's the acting part of character creation, script analysis, understanding where the song fits into the story, and how can it stand alone for a cabaret?

It's FUN! I love all that stuff! And since I have a very busy life, I'm singing wherever I can, whenever I can. Sometimes it's in a rehearsal studio with my coach. Sometimes it's at home in my bedroom. When my husband and I traveled last weekend, I was singing in the hotel room. And I'm almost always singing on the street when I walk to my support job, or classes, callbacks and auditions. It's Manhattan! I WALK! :) And I rehearse where I can! Learn where I can! Enjoy it all where I can! That's my Perspective. :)

Fittingly, I'm singing "Yes" by Kander and Ebb, which is pretty much my anthem. And I'm doing the duet, "Move On," by Stephen Sondheim.

Years ago, I posed near a replica of George Seurat's painting in Saugutuck, MI, and I dreamed of playing Dot in "Sunday in the Park with George."

Tomorrow, I get to do just that!

Isn't it marvelous how the roads we travel loop back around to something we wanted to do. It's like everything's in bloom!

Tomorrow night's performance is at 8 PM at 410 West 40th Street "behind the red door!" Tix are available at the door, and are a suggested donation of $15.

Hope to see you there!