I was born a few years ago on September 26th in a small town in Michigan which goes by the name of Caro. It boasts a population of 5000 or so and has 5 stoplights!! An embarrassing fact: the opening day of the McDonald's in my little town was the biggest opening ever for a McD's...EVER. The folks back home don't have a lot to get excited about. I'm the oldest kid with one younger brother. We are as different as night and day. He likes cars, boats and hunting. I like theatre, art and taking taxis. He hates NYC, I love it. The one thing we share is our senses of humor, especially when it comes to teasing mom and dad. My folks and my brother and his wife all still live in Michigan.
I went to the only HS in town which was big on sports and short on the arts. I was a big band nerd, played trombone was even drum major...you should see those photos...yikes!!! I didn't really become involved in theatre until I went away to College at Central Michigan University. They had a great theatre dept at the time and it wasn't long before my dreams of becoming a dentist (yes, a dentist) went out the window. I became very involved in the theatre and the music department. Did a lot of university theatre productions, "The Fantasticks", "Ah, Wilderness", "Company", "Applause" and studied voice privately with a fantastic teacher, Mary Keisgen.
Between my Sophomore and Junior years I spent the summer at a dinner theatre in Northern Michigan. It was my first taste of sort of professional theatre and it really proved to me that the bug had bitten and that theatre was what I wanted to do with my life. The next summer I went to the Barn theatre in Augusta Michigan as an apprentice in their Equity company. I had no idea at the time how that decision would shape the next 18 years of my life! I met and worked with people who are still my best friends: Marin Mazzie, Joe Aiello, Barbara Marineau, Becky Ann Baker. The theatre became a home for all of us and welcomed us back year after year to be part of their Equity company. Over the years I have done countless shows there and gotten the chance to direct and work with some fantastic people. It's a pretty special place. It's also been great for me that it's in Michigan so it has given me a chance to see my family in the summers and given them a chance to see my work.
While I was an apprentice at the Barn I became good friends with Marin and Jon Larson (yeah, the guy who wrote "Rent"). The three of us all moved to NY the same time and formed a singing trio called J. Glitz (a long story) that performed all over the city. Anywhere there was an open mike we would perform. It was my first taste of "working" in NY. My circle of friends did a lot of work for Jon as he began to write..demos and readings. A lot of that early work we did for him has hints of what would become "Rent". Of course his story is an amazing and tragic one and I still can't quite believe I was a part of it. It was with Jon that I first dabbled in lyric writing. My first song was written with him and we performed it in J.Glitz. The writing bug bit hard when I met Paul Loesel at the Barn. We started to write cabaret songs for the aftershow revue. We really hit it off creatively and have become writing partners here in the city. We have written a musical "Six of One" that has had various readings and that we continue to whittle away on. We also have a cabaret show "Love Songs and Other Crap" that we have performed at Don't tell mama here in NYC since January of 99'. I very much enjoy the writing and look forward to doing more of it. I never really planned to be a writer but the success we've had and the challenge of it has made it a part of my life that I enjoy very much.
Now it's all about finding a balance between the writing and the performing. It was great when "Titanic" was running because Paul and I were both in town working (he played in the pit for "Ragtime" and "'The Lion King") and could write in our spare time. When I go away or he goes away it makes it harder to pull together and get anything done.
Speaking of "Titanic" I suppose I would be remiss if I didn't mention it here since it was such an important step in my life and my career. I got a chance to work with the most amazing group of people on an amazing show. It was an experience I'll never forget and will have a hard time duplicating. The cast was so much fun. We truly were big happy family and I miss those folks most everyday. Of course lots of us still keep in touch and I trust always will.
Well that's sort of the long-winded yet abridged version of the events that have shaped my life and career so far. If you read all that (and you're not my mom!) you deserve some kind of medal or something. Cheers!
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