Actor, Director, Dancer, Choreographer, Theatre-Maker
After a year of International, National, and Bus and Truck touring companies, Melissa made her Broadway debut as Judy Turner in Michael Bennett's original production of A Chorus Line. She played the optimistic, dizzy brunette for more than 2,000 performances and believes that repeating the line - "Don't you want to do more than just dance in the chorus?" - eight shows a week for five years, shaped the rest of her life. Melissa is deeply grateful to all of her teachers, but especially Michael Bennett, Joseph Papp, Marvin Hamlisch, Theoni V. Aldredge, Tharon Musser, Marty Gold, Alex MacKay, Tom Porter, and Sherman Frank.
After leaving A Chorus Line, Melissa received critical acclaim as Shelby in the New York premiere of Molly Newman's Shooting Stars. She also originated the role of Wally in Steven Fechter's Schiele. Other favorite acting credits include: Syzygy Theatre Company’s 365 Plays in 365 Days, an all-female version of Julius Caesar, Cover of Life, The Sisters Rosensweig, Talk To Me Like The Rain, and the West Coast premiere of Sheila Callaghan’s Roadkill Confidential.
Melissa trained extensively with SITI Company in Suzuki, Viewpoints, and composition before venturing into the world of experimental theatre with: The Walking Wounded: An Evening of Dorothy Parker. Original works include: The Hat, which began as a five minute composition with SITI Company member Barney O'Hanlon and became a duet interweaving text, choreography, and live jazz. The Hat premiered at The New York International Fringe Festival 2013; The Women of "The Hat" a series of solo versions of The Hat, performed internationally, and Asylum, a devised collaboration exploring vice, sin, and consequence presented at Son of Semele Ensemble's Company Creation Festival.
Melissa is Chair of the Theatre Department at Glendale College, founder of Leap in the Dark Productions, and a proud Union Member of AEA; SAG-AFTRA.