I pretty much live my dream(s) and learn to do as many things as I can along the way. I really enjoy meeting new people.
Originally from NY, I grew up (if you can call it that) mostly in Rockland County NY. If you’re a crow flying it’s pretty close to mid-town. If you’re driving it is about 20-30 minutes.
My entire life has been in the arts and I am grateful for some of the amazing opportunities and challenges that have come my way – both personally and professionally.
My love of Television and Theater goes back as far as I do. That first Emmy nomination meant quite a lot to me (I probably appreciate it more now than I did then.)
My earliest stage experiences were in grade school as Old Brown, The Owl in Squirrel Nutkin and then as Gepetto in Pinocchio. Somewhere, out there in the ether, there is a review/write up of Squirrel Nutkin that was published in what was then The Rockland Journal News featuring a picture of my in my Old Brown the Owl Costume with the kid who played Squirrel Nutkin. I think it was Larry Ziskin (whose father was my pediatrician), but I may have that confused with Pinocchio, If anyone out there reading this knows for sure, please drop me a line and let me know. I’d also love to get my hands on that article. I actually had it until I was about 15 or 16.
During grade school I was always artistically driven…art projects, crafts…it didn’t matter. I am now a demon with a glue gun!
Junior High was ALL about Chorus/Music class for me…but there was no one pushing/challenging me. School came far too easily to me. Then in High School, I met Mr. Zawel. He is/was a force of nature and I found him to be challenging in every way imaginable. The challenges he presented became personal for me and they ignited my innate creative drive into a blast furnace of all things music, theater, artistic etc. I love to remind him that he told me once, I sang flat and couldn’t act. The first time I reminded him of that was when he asked me to join the cast of a production of Company he was directing. I don’t remind him any more. He is as happy for me as he is for the many students who became theater, music and arts professionals. That man did something VERY RIGHT and I wish there were more like him.
What I will say about college (primarily about school in Fredonia, NY) is that attempting a BFA program – a thinly veiled version of a torturous, almost triple major program – in my first time ever living away from home — while having what I now believe was a “mild issue” with ADD, might not have been the smartest thing to do. But I met great people, many of whom I admired (still do), and many who I am still in touch with today. And I learned SO MUCH. SO MUCH.
I’m currently a writer, a producer, a fundraiser, a talent/casting professional, blah blah blah. I’ve been an actor and a singer ( I will likely always be an actor and a singer), a piano player –as opposed to a pianist– though I did play Gershwin at Lincoln Center (thanks to the inspiring friendship of Anita Morganstern). I may have danced, but that is ancient history (unless you’re doing a creaking-jointed version of Hippo Lake Ballet). I’ve learned marketing and creative strategies from the ground up and from some of the best. I’ve done freelance print and design work for several companies, and even a goodly sized music publisher. I spent many years with Viacom with Nick at Nite and TV Land where I was a senior producer for tvland.com. Again – I LOVE TELEVISION. Somehow, I’m still not sure how, I managed to work as a producer there during some of the time we were shooting OZ (another experience I am so grateful for). The day I ran over to the tvland.com office during a lunch break in full wardrobe and make-up including a gunshot wound…now that was pretty funny.
I loved my long time survival job in NY playing in the piano bars. 6 hours of fun and improv a night (well, it wasn’t always a bed of Roses – but over all it was great fun and many of the friends I made back then are still friends today.) I LOVE IMPROV.
I volunteered a lot with the kids in the Bronx NY who didn’t have much of a music program. Not too long after moving to LA I became involved with LifeWorks a youth mentoring program for LGBTQ (Q = questioning) Youth. I still work with them, today. It’s a great group. Similarly I was a mentor for 2 LAUSD students while I was writing the 62nd LA Emmy Awards. I hired one of those mentees to be my writers assistant on the 63rd LA Emmys show, and took on two additional mentees on that show as well.
I am proud member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Diversity Committee. The 2008-2009 season was a banner year for us and in 2010 we were made a standing committee of the Academy. Again, one of those things that means a lot to me.