I sang my first solos in grade school, and performed whenever I could while in junior high and high school.
I was cast in the first college play I auditioned for - TARTUFFE, at Calvin College. A few months later, I auditioned for and was cast as PHILIA, in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM for Hope Summer Repertory Theatre.
I grew up in a musical family, listening to all styles of music in our home; my mom the local piano teacher and soloist, and both parents active in vocal groups and choirs. Our parents often took us to see plays, musicals and concerts. A highlight growing up – a Movie Theatre in our basement – rare at that time. While in grade school, we began watching a different genre most nights, and were introduced to the work of so many great actors and actresses….we saw silent films, westerns, war movies, mysteries, dramas, comedies ~ and, of course, my favorite ~ the Movie Musicals!
We saw everything by Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Shirley Jones, Julie Andrews and more….I knew I wanted to be an actor and singer…
After that, I knew I wanted to be Theatre Major, and I transferred to Wayne State University in Detroit. I studied Music and Theatre through my Senior year. I was given the opportunity to be in so many quality productions – My voice lessons began in high school and continued through college. My voice teacher at Wayne State was Elsie Inselman, who later coached me through all those Symphony performances. My dance training excelerated at Wayne because of our wonderful movement/dance instructor Nira Pullin. She turned several of us into working Singer-Dancers.
When I was fifteen, our parents took us to Opryland Themepark, in Nashville, and I was awestruck with the high caliber of the live shows – celebrating The Great American Songbook , and I dreamed of working there one day.
As a Junior in college, I auditioned for Opryland, while they were holding auditions in Detroit and was thrilled to be cast – in the very show I hoped to one day be a part of, I HEAR AMERICA SINGING.
I treasured this opportunity to explore our country – meet it’s people, communities and cultures. I knew I was growing and thriving while exploring our cities, perusing book and music stores, experiencing local cultures…On many of those trips I collected sheet music, scores, music recordings, cds and books…and was inspired by the staff working at Colony and Tower Records, independent book and record stores and by singers, actors, plays, musicals and performances I saw while on the road.
Moving back to Detroit, almost immediately I was working extensively as an actor in many radio and tv commericals, industrial films, and an occasional tv or film role. I auditioned for a show called THE ALL NIGHT STRUT, directed by it’s creator, Fran Charnas, and stayed with the show for all of its runs at THE GEM THEATRE in Detroit, over a twenty-year period. It was such a joy to use my singing and dancing skills again – and I grew so much, frequently appearing in both the Soprano and Alto roles. I was cast in a few other stage shows, sang in multiple venues and churches, and the door opened for me to begin an eight-year adventure singing with a Symphony. I directed high school plays and children’s choirs. I also worked for many years as a make-up artist and precision driver. I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences for they have grounded me, stretched my skills and abilities and made me the artist I am today.
In spite of the pandemic, we continue to record new songs and move forward.
I am grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way, and I am content.
I am also most grateful to all those who have attended our shows, purchased the CD and especially to those Radio and Show Hosts who continue to share and support our music, and to the reviewers who have taken the time to watch and listen and share their thoughts on our work. I’m also grateful to the amazing team of musicians and directors I continue to work with who elevate the quality of my work!
My most sincere Thanks! I look forward to all that is ahead.
I would, on occasion, delay the start of a job, adjust my schedule to accept a role in a show, take a class, and eventually create my own shows. It’s always been a balancing act - I wanted both a normal life with a home and a yard, and the opportunity to use my gifts and talents. In 2002, I created my first NYC Cabaret Show, with Mark Janas, Andy Gale and Ritt Henn. It wasn’t until 2014 that I felt the pull to create a new show, this time with Tedd Firth and Andy Gale, with both Ritt Henn and Steve Doyle on bass. This is the show that inspired my CD, so, in 2016 Tedd Firth, Lance Roberts and I were beginning rehearsals for our new show - featuring the brilliant lyric of Sheldon Harnick, and working on the studio recording of our show, AN EVENING WITH JENNIFER ROBERTS at Sean Swinney Recording. Our CD was completed in 2018, and to our delight, nominated for a 2019 MAC AWARD. We performed our SHELDON HARNICK Show once in 2016, and not again until 2018. We performed it twice in 2018, and four more times in 2019 playing some wonderful rooms. Mr. and Mrs. Harnick attended our show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in January, 2019, which was a thrill!
Within a year of moving back to Detroit, I also booked my first auto show account – which opened the door for me to travel the country, extensively, for over twenty years. I worked for several manufacturers over the years and discovered I loved to travel as much as I loved to perform. In fact, several times in my life I was told to choose the one thing I really loved the most, and pursue that. I never could make that decision because I equally loved so many of things my life has brought me,
I’ve been singing most of my life
I just walked through the opening doors...
While immersed in my Musical Theatre studies, my life took a sharp right turn,
so I just kept walking through the open doors
We are working on a new show, and hope to record the Sheldon Harnick Show this Fall
and I found myself in the world of Country Music, working with Legends Roy Acuff, Porter Wagoner, Minnie Pearl, Lee Greenwood and more.
Jennifer has a global presence. Her debut CD, AN EVENING WITH JENNIFER ROBERTS, received a 2019 MAC AWARD Nomination,
numerous rave reviews, and continued airplay around the US and Overseas.
She is an accomplished Singer and Actress, with a Musical Theatre background, and experience in television and film. A classically trained vocalist, she “excels at ballads, and in a jazz or swing mode, and can even have fun with country” - William Wolf.
Jennifer, who’s regional credits include Sarah Brown, opposite Broadway leading man Tom Wopat in GUYS AND DOLLS, serves up entertaining, exhilarating, jazz-infused shows that highlight her wide vocal range. Drawing on her own diverse and ecletic
background- she’s been a symphony soloist, motivational trainer, high school drama director, Opryland themepark singer and dancer, and traveled the country as an automotive spokesperson, Jennifer’s heartfelt theatrical performances showcase her unique blend of drama and humor.
Growing up in a musical family, she started singing at an early age, and starting Classical voice training at age 15. She was raised
in a suburb near Detroit, and was active in junior high and high school music and theatre opportunities. She received a BFA in
Theatre from Wayne State University, and was the recipient of two Acting Scholarships. While in college, and beyond, she studied
Voice with Elsie Inselman, and movement/dance with Nira Pullin. She later studied acting with Uta Hagen.
While in college, she appeared in many Wayne State plays and musicals, as well as dinner theatre and children’s theatre
productions. She was also a member of WSU’s Touring Dance Troupe – “Movin’ Theatre.” During her junior year of college, she auditioned for Opryland Themepark, in Nashville, and worked as a Singer/Dancer in numerous live shows for several years. While in
Nashville, she was a frequent guest on one of The Nashville Network’s first television shows OPRYLAND ONSTAGE and later
PORTER WAGONER at OPRYLAND. She was also cast, while in Nashville, in many commercials, and worked as a singer/dancer in
several touring, convention and industrial shows with Country Music legends Porter Wagoner, Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Lee Greenwood, and more.
Moving back to the Midwest, she was cast at Meadowbrook Theatre, in a production of THE CHILDREN’S HOUR, directed by
Terence Kilburn, with a stellar cast including Jayne Houdyshell and Linda Gehringer. She also worked extensively in television and
radio, including commercials and industrial films. She was featured in an UNSOLVED MYSTERIES episode, and cast as DA Martha Coakley, working with Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell and Peter Gallagher, directed by Tony Goldwyn in the film, CONVICTION.
As a vocalist, Jennifer has performed numerous times with Symphonies- both Pops and Classical. She has performed in many other venues, churches and theatres and appeared as both the Soprano and Alto roles in THE ALL NIGHT STRUT, at Detroit’s Historic Gem Theatre, over a 20-year period. She also performed the show in Rochester, New York. Jennifer’s regional credits include Guenevere in CAMELOT, at the Alhambra Dinner Theater in Jacksonville, Florida and as Sarah Brown, opposite Tom Wopat, in GUYS and DOLLS at the Barn Theatre, in Augusta, Michigan.
In 2002, Jennifer created her first New York Cabaret show – with Andy Gale, as Director, and Mark Janas, as Musical Director, performing at Judy’s Chelsea and Don’t Tell Mama.
In 2014, Jennifer created a new Cabaret show, this time with Tedd Firth, as Musical Director, directed again, by Andy Gale.
In 2016, she created a show based on the lyrics of BROADWAY LYRICIST ~ SHELDON HARNICK, with Tedd Firth as Musical
Director and Broadway regular, Lance Roberts, as Director – the show is titled JENNIFER ROBERTS: SHE LOVES….SHELDON!
The show was performed again in April of 2018, and several times in 2019, at Don’t Tell Mama, Pangea, and The Laurie Beechman
Theatre. Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Harnick attended the show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, in January, 2019 -a thrill of a lifetime!
She is currently working on a new show, and is in the early stages of taking the Sheldon Harnick show to the Recording Studio!