My earliest memories of performing come from when I was around 8 years old or so.  I played the organ at the Michigan State Fair in an exhibition to do with Hammond organs or something. I think I played at least 1 or 2 numbers – Santa Lucia and something else – maybe Trumpet Voluntary.  Backstage, an older man showed me how to push the lights up and down using a large piece of wood – this way they would all go up at the same rate. I don’t remember the audience.  There must have been an audience however.  My mother waited for me backstage and afterwards, I think we just went home.  It wasn’t very far from where I was raised in Southfield, Michigan.


This auspicious beginning was followed up by my acting debut around the same time in a grade school play about a peddler. I played a pig.  High school brought musicals and some straight plays and choir performances.  By the time I got ready for college, there was no question about what I was going to do. I was going to be a performer – either a musician (Opera at University of Michigan) or acting (Northwestern University).  I ended up going to Northwestern.  The rest, as they say, is history.


I still don’t really know why I was so drawn to music and storytelling.  True, my mother was a musician and her mother was a musician so it was in the blood.  But my father was a lawyer.  Could have just as easily gone that way. My sister was a jock and my brother ran track.  Could have done that too.  But no. Music and storytelling.  The magic of make believe.