Biography


Most recently Renee has been seen in All American with Musicals Tonight!. She has also performed songs from 18 Karat King, written by Hal Hackady and Larry Applewhite, at a night of music from new musicals at the Workshop Theatre. Additionally, she appeared in a reading of this same show last year, also at the workshop theatre. Renee had the pleasure of starring in a new play called In Our Own Image at the 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival. The show was three short plays and in them Renee played a mother dying of cancer, a prison guard, and God. In Our Own Image was nominated for Outstanding Production of a play. Renee has been seen in two touring productions with ArtsPower Touring Theatre, first as Caroline Ingalls in Laura Ingalls Wilder: Growing up on the Prairie and then as Miss Clavel in Madeline and the Bad Hat. Here in New York Renee has had the great honor of performing in many readings, showcases, and workshops of new plays including The Dream Palace: a musical version of A Midsummer Nights Dream, Behind a Rolling Ball, In This Fallen City, and Kindergarten Confidential.

Renee was presented with her biggest role to date when she had her daughter in October of 2009. In addition to being a mother, Renee found time to start a children's theatre with her friend Chelsey Shannon in Inwood, Manhattan, where they live. Rumpus Children's Theatre was created in the summer of 2010 and has presented a variety of staged readings of new shows for children in the neighborhood of Inwood. In creating this theatre Renee and Chelsey realized there was a lack of quality children's theatre being submitted to them and they decided there needed to be an outlet to encourage the creation of new and exciting theatre for young audiences. To do this they are in the process of founding The New York Children's Theater Festival. They hope to have the festival off the ground in the spring of 2012.

Renee was born and raised in Waukegan, IL, where she quickly gained a love of theatre after participating in many church and school plays. But it was not until her junior year of high school, in a production of The Wiz, as the overture played and the lights came up, that she realized the she loved to be on stage and considered theatre as a career. She continued to act throughout her senior year of high school, playing Tessie Tura in Gypsy, and winning a best actress award for her portrayal of Lucy in Dracula.

Renee attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where she studied music therapy and classical voice. She was active in the university's theatre program, working in the scene shop as well as performing in productions of The Mikado, Man of La Mancha, and the operas, Suor Angelica and Down in the Valley. After graduating from UW Oshkosh, Renee worked as a music therapist in Milwaukee and Chicago, and although she loved being a music therapist, she could not ignore her desire to perform. She played some wonderful roles including Johanna in Sweeney Todd and Lily in Annie. In Pump Boys & Dinettes, Renee got to utilize her percussion and tap dance skills (skills she didn't even know she had!). She also reprised her role as Lucy in a production of Balderson & Deane's Dracula. Renee became more familiar with the works of Sondheim and Kander and Ebb performing in Side by Side by Sondheim and And the World Goes 'Round. She also performed a variety of Shakespeare scenes in the first ever Shakespeare in the Park in Zion, IL.

Soon it became clear to Renee that she wasn't able to give music therapy her full attention because she was constantly doing three or four shows while working a full time job. In March of 2005 she auditioned for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). Although it was difficult for Renee to leave her job, her friends, and her family, she was excited at the prospect of persuing a professional career in theatre. Renee moved to New York in June of 2005 after receiving a scholarship to attend AMDA. She graduated from the school's integrated (musical theatre) program in October of 2006.

Renee lives in Manhattan with her husband Kevin and daughter Celia. She is a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association.