Interviewed by: Claire Simon, CSA
- Has there been a Casting Director that has encouraged and/or supported you in your career? Yes! There have been several actually, and I have to recognize all of them by name. In order of appearance: Jane Brody is a former Chicago casting director but I met her as my acting teacher at DePaul, she taught me how to really work. Celeste Cooper is a Chicago acting great, and DePaul alum, but she also cast me in my first professional play out of grad school, Our Lady of 121st by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Claire Simon, Mickie Paskal, Jennifer Rudnicke, and A.J. Links; I met all of them during my last year at DePaul when my professor, Janelle Snow, introduced our class to Chicago’s local casting companies. Claire cast me in my first TV gig, Chicago P.D. Also, I distinctly remember Mickie once after a director session pulled me aside, and without mincing any words told me to never audition like that again, that I should never come off nervous or scared because I was just too good. Christal Karge, Marisa Ross, and Jenn Noyes, I met through auditioning, but every time I see each of them I feel like family, they just keep it real, and to me that’s the most important thing.
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2) What work are you most proud of?
I was in a play in grad school called Joe Turner’s Come And Gone, by August Wilson. I played Herald Loomis, and I gave it all I had. That was the first time I’d done a play that completely engulfed me. I loved it, but it was hard.
3) What or who inspired you to pursue acting as a career?
I had a second grade teacher, Ms. Tozzi. She was cool; she noticed I was kind of quiet and anti-social, so she recommended to my parents that I try joining Odyssey of the Mind which is a sort of critical thinking, problem solving, team-based competition. We’d be given a “problem” which was really a prompt for a skit based on certain parameters. I was building sets and performing all over the state from then on through high school, without ever really fashioning myself an actor, but no doubt that was the spark.
4) What was your first IMDbPro credit and how did you feel when you saw it?
Chicago P.D. episode 504. Claire Simon cast me to play Eddie Green. I just remember looking at the credit and feeling like I had just joined the club, you know? I was in the building.
5) How has IMDbPro helped you market yourself to filmmakers?
I’m on IMDb almost every time I have an audition. I think its invaluable as a resource. I’ve been able to prepare so much more for an audition by understanding the people I’m auditioning to work with, and that process usually begins on IMDbPro, for sure.
6) Any funny casting room stories?
There was a time when I was working as a reader for some theatre auditions P.R. Casting was holding, and there was actually a kiss that happens in one of the scenes. Every time we read that side all the actors either mimed the kiss or just ignored it completely. However, one actor came up the stairs to the stage, and as we read the audition side, getting closer and closer, approaching the kiss in the scene, she suddenly leaned in grabbed my whole head and plants a fat, three-second kiss right on my mouth. Needless to say Mickie and the crew were mortified, but I thought it was pretty funny.
7) Tell us a fun fact about you outside of acting:
I love to decorate. I can imagine an alternate reality where I’d be an interior designer somewhere, staging homes to sell on the open market, or something. I like to pick out wood to cut, stain, and make shelves too. I hope to graduate to full-blown table and chair making eventually, the whole nine.