Vanessa currently teaches music theatre at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she earned her Masters Degree in Music for Vocal Performance
Vanessa hails from Appleton, Wisconsin where she found a love for theatre and the arts during her high school years at Appleton North. After performing in her first musical, Les Miserables, she actively became part of the theatre scene, as a member of the thesbian society and performing many roles on stage. During her senior year she had the privilege of performing as Aida in the Wisconsin Non-Professional Premiere of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida.
Vanessa attended Carthage College from 2005-2009 where she earned a BA in Music, emphasis in Music Theatre, and graduated with honors. Vanessa again spent most of her time on the stage honing her music theatre skills. Favorite roles while at Carthage include: Mrs. Johnstone (Blood Brothers), Muzzy (Thoroughly Modern Millie), and Eve (Children of Eden), the last of which she received an ACTF nomination for her performance. Vanessa was also the first Carthage student to receive a first place award from the NATS singing competition in 2007 for her participation in the Upper College Music Theatre Women's Division.
For the summers of 2008 and 2009 Vanessa worked as an actress, assistant music director, and choreographer for Canterbury Summer Theatre. Here she performed the roles of Marmee (Little Women), Ginger (I Love a Piano), and Reverend Mother (Nunsense), among others. She also took on the challenge of synchronizing music for the shows and staging choreography in some of the shows.
After graduating from Carthage in 2009, Vanessa began working for the Kenosha Academy of Dance, Music & Drama. She began as a piano and voice instructor and eventually took on developing and teaching a music theatre voice and dance class. In 2010, Vanessa began working for the Racine Theatre Guild, teaching their music theatre workshop classes and Broadway Bound classes.
Vanessa has choreographed the winter musical at Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, IL and directed and choreographed for Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL. Shows she has been a part of at these locations include: Pippin, The Sound of Music, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Music Man Jr. Vanessa most recently supervised the Oak Creek High School drama program where she directed and choreographed multiple shows.
Most recently, Vanessa earned her Masters Degree in Music, emphasis in vocal performance, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. During her time as a student, Vanessa served as a Teaching Assistant by providing voice lessons to non-major music students and teaching undergraduate courses such as Class Voice, Music Theatre Class Voice, and Diction. Upon graduating in 2018, she remained at UW-Milwaukee as an Associate Lecturer, splitting her talents between the music and theatre departments.
Professional, semi-professional, and community theatres allow Vanessa to continue brightening the stage and serve on production teams. She has had the fortune of performing with Capitol City Theatre (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Circle Theatre (Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), Racine Theatre Guild (Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Apple Holler (The Wizard of Oz Murders), Lakeside Players (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Soulstice Theatre (Seussical! the Musical), The Haylofters (Young Frankenstein, I Love You, You're Perfect... Now Change!), and Greendale Community Theatre (Avenue Q). As a music director and keyboardist, Vanessa has worked with Skylight Music Theatre (Hairspray), UW-Milwaukee (9 to 5 the Musical and Invader? I Hardly Knew Her!), Lake Country Playhouse (Little Women: Youth Cast and Hear My Song: a Jason Robert Brown Cabaret), and Sunset Playhouse (Mary Poppins Junior).
"Vanessa's rich, clear voice is versatile: she can handle pop belt, traditional song tunes like Judy Garland repertoire, and classical repertoire with ease."
- Corinne Ness, Carthage College Associate Professor of Music