My journey to the Slipstream began in Michigan’s Thumb, where I grew up on a dairy farm. I was educated in Lutheran primary school, then public high school, where I was introduced to acting by James Hunt, a fresh-faced English teacher who cast me as the lead in “Little Mary Sunshine”. At that point I was 5 feet 11 inches tall. Mr. Hunt took us to Meadowbrook for field trips and I fell in love with theatre. Anxious to leave my sleepy little town where I was related to EVERYONE, I went to college, earning a degree in nursing while living in Detroit. Following a brief stint as a camp nurse, I landed in Coconut Grove, Florida. I enjoyed my career at the big county hospital, the beaches, discos, parties, the pretty people-but the best part of my life was when a new play arrived at the Coconut Grove Playhouse. I returned to Michigan in the ‘80’s, a bit spent from the Florida “fun” and almost immediately met Richard. He was a car guy (GM) with a little blonde daughter who I adopted after we married a couple of years later. Our family grew when his other daughter moved in and soon baby made 5. Our family did church plays and community theatre; I took classes and workshops in acting, and launched a professional career in 2001 at Planet Ant during the week of September 11. Since then I have worked at Open Book, Detroit Rep, Tipping Point, the JET, Puzzle Piece, Flint Rep, Riverbank and Snug and others, including a few Shakespeare companies. I am anchored to the Detroit theatre scene because this is where my family (both onstage and off) lives. Its home and I plan to stay here as long as they keep hiring me and I can remember my lines.
I met Bailey while we were performing together in “When the Rain Stops Falling” at the Ringwald. He fascinated me, as he was forced to spend most of the play backstage where he could be found coloring Hello Kitty pages, and then stepped on stage to give the most natural, sweetest performance imaginable. I have watched as he built this company, intrigued by how he deconstructed classics and breathed fresh life into them. It is always a surprise at Slipstream, always an adventure, always a challenge. As an actor, that is exactly what I crave.
After many years of hospital employment, I now work with both Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State Med School as a Simulated Patient, teaching communication skills to physicians and future doctors. I travel to schools with the JET Outreach program, performing a play about bullying. I do a few commercials a year and the occasional film role. I love traveling with my daughters, and my husband, often to New York City where the “baby” lives. We have six grandchildren and our house is the hub for family meals and holiday gatherings. I enjoy a good fart joke, and whoopee cushions were a standard gift for our young ones. The campfire bean scene in “Blazing Saddles” remains one of my most cherished moments in cinematic history.
And one of my forever favorite pastimes continues to be sitting in the audience of a theater, hearing the stories, thinking, feeling, and dreaming. See you there.