I grew up in the quiet suburb of Prospect, Connecticut. You may know it from the November, 1990 issue of Connecticut Magazine where it was named "one of the worst small towns in Connecticut." As a direct challenge to this, Prospect residents began sticking bumper stickers to their cars saying "Prospect, The Best Small Town in Connecticut!" The wildly unsupported claim spread like wildfire, and soon the town was actually known throughout the state as the cheery substitution. This kind of pluckiness, tenacity, and down-right cock-eyed optimism was somehow absorbed by me, and now I'm a walking, talking, Best Small* Eric McKinley in Connecticut!
*"small" may be questionable
I always loved performing. At age 7, I would make up songs on my Nana's piano and sing them for her. (I did not know how to play piano in the slightest but just hitting the keys was enough for me.) At age 12, I would record episodes of So You Think You Can Dance on VHS tapes and practice the dances over and over again until I had them memorized. At age 15, I broke my bedframe doing Mimi's "Out Tonight" choreography.
In high school, I began performing in real productions. My very first show was Jesus Christ Superstar where I played King Herod. I very quickly realized that I was heading into a long career of playing ingenues. Soon after, I began taking improv classes at Seven Angels Theatre, a local Equity theatre in the neighboring city. I started doing shows there, and realized this was maybe, probably, definitely what I wanted to do the rest of my life.
I earned my BA in Musical Theatre from Western Connecticut State University, where I was fortunate enough to work with incredible mentors like
Julio Agustin, Elizabeth Parkinson, Scott Wise, Janelle Robinson,
and Mary Ann Lamb. When I'm not in rehearsals, I'm working
in a box office, reading biographies, or watching House Hunters.
Remember, wallpaper is just a cosmetic fix.