TS: Tell us about yourself and how you were bitten by the theatre bug?
SJB: I grew up in Southern California, Orange County. My father, Steven, worked as a welfare fraud investigator. My mother, Rosemarie, worked for our local school district and was later employed by American Title Insurance Company. Both of them sang during their high school and collegiate careers, but neither one of them pursued it as a profession. I have one elder sister, Renee. She was one of the premiere dancers and princesses at Disneyland but married quite young and started having a family right away. She’s now pregnant with her fifth child, and there isn’t a better mom out there. For me, singing wasn’t “a bug,” it was a passion. My parents recognized that I could carry a tune and sing on pitch at the age of three. I would sing with television commercials or jingles on the radio. I began singing at my church when I was 7 years old. And when I was 11 years old, I began taking private voice lessons. I trained with the most amazing teacher, Jill Goodsell. She is an absolute master, and I apply what I’ve learned from her, and continue to learn from her, every day.
TS: Did you know that this is what you wanted to be your life’s work once you took voice lessons?
SJB: I knew almost immediately that performing would be my career. I was involved with the local community theatres and talent shows. At the age of 14, I auditioned for a performance group called “The Young Americans.” We traveled around the U.S. and the world to perform at different concerts, corporate events and industrial shows. One of the directors of the Young Americans, David Green, approached my parents and said, “I really think that Stephanie should look into going to a high school of the performing arts.” So my junior and senior year, I attended the Orange County High School of the Arts located on the campus of Los Alamitos High School. Essentially, I was going to school from 7am until about 7pm. I still continued all of my private voice lessons, and through Jill Goodsell, I was awarded a scholarship to the Boston Conservatory of Music. The scholarship only supported arts classes, no regular curriculum. My family could not afford that school without a full scholarship, so the plan was for me to attend Orange Coast College the first two years and then transfer. I went there for five days. I felt like a lion in a cage. I looked at my parents and said, “Let me just try it out there in the real world. I want to jump in head first and start.” My parents hated the idea of me leaving college. But we made a pact. They were going to keep a really close watch on me, and if they saw me lose my focus or discipline, if they saw me stop growing in my craft or simply rest on my laurels, I was going back to college.... Read More →
2012-2013 Season, A Conversation with, The Mystery of Edwin Drood