rhymes with Dulles
(As in the airport, but then, you knew that)
I am born. Call me Ishmael.
"You got the machine/You know that I screen."
|I go way back with Robert Briscoe Evans and Kerry Phillips (aka 'Biscuits'
Carnahan and wanted in the state of Oklahoma, but that's another story) --
back to my first national tour, when Kerry had written (and was the musical
director for) the two musicals we carried in our tour repertory. Kerry's first
words to me were, "Sing this".
Nothing much has changed since then.
What, you want more? Don't get me started...
Eliding gracefully past the time we spent in different (and more rarely, the same) theatre
companies (tours, repertory, regional theatres and the requisite dinner theatre circuits),
eventually we wound up in together again, in a cast that also included Randall Meade (the
only man I know with a PhD in 3-finger picking, so we call him 'The Doctor'). I walked into
the men’s dressing room (naw, no one was nekkid) where Kerry and Randall were jamming. Kerry
said, "Sing this" and my future as Eleonora Duse took a detour as Changing Lanes was born.
To cut to the chase (oops, too late): we moved to NYC, where the Village Voice and the
Manhattan Punch Line selected Changing Lanes as one of New York City's top ten acts and
presented us off-Broadway at the New York City Center, launching an 18-month* National
Tour, booked by a man who had also been our mentor in earlier days: the incomparable Drexel
(*Okay, so it was s’posed to be a 2-year tour, but I started getting a
little homicidal and the guys sorta took that personally. Go fig.)
I throw these comments in to help you stay awake.
After that, we moved to Los Angeles, where our appearances included Gary Mandell's
McCabe's, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and the now-defunct Palomino Club.
Then Randall got married and moved to Virginia. Happy for him but sad for us.
While waiting for RainPace to find us (though we didn't know that at the time), Kerry and I
worked on a array of other projects. We wrote a musical based on the true story of Mary
Draper, a children's musical (Global Gorilla), a movie score for the Slam Dance film festival
and some acting that (in my case) you mostly never saw.
And always, whenever we could, we made sweet music with GFB ("Good friend Bob" Evans).
As a vocalist, I did a six-year stint at The Jazz Bakery, appearing monthly as part of Sing!
Sing! Sing! and as a featured singer and arranger for the quartet Vocal Affair. That's where
I had the good fortune to meet Susan Stern and in the summer of 2006, RainPace was born.
Mikey Hunter -- the bass player we've searched for all our lives -- mystically sprang, fully
formed, from Zeus' head and, for good measure, he swept the multi-talented Michael Salas
along, and like Goldilocks, we found both Mikes to be just ri-i-i-ight.
Now that we've got GFB in the mix, it's all "Easy Labor".
O happy we!
Thanks to my mom, I'm a killer Scrabble player. Thanks to my dad's gypsy streak, I call
many states -- but especially Texas and Virginia -- 'home'. When I'm stuck on the 405, I call
Los Angeles ... names somewhat less fond. But just the same, I love LA (yeah, me and Randy
Newman ride the same highway), though I miss my family.
Valerie recently received an award for "Outstanding Achievement In Multiple Roles"
presented by the Inland Theatre League for the 2006 world premiere production of
the musical, Moll Flanders (starring Cindy Robinson and Adrian Zmed).
The ITL Awards ceremony was held in April, 2007 at the Landis Performing Arts Center.
for larger images
|(Click photos for bios)