René: bag lady.
Nooo. Actress and Stand-up Comedienne.
Well, okay, almost the same
thing. They make about the same amount
She knew her life would include performing the day she was
officially discovered as a child prodigy in music.
At the age of 10, a standard
ear training test was given to those interested in joining the school band, and
the odds of making a perfect score were 1 in 6,000. Carla made that perfect
Coming from a musically inclined family with a
grandmother who taught her to play piano by ear, she developed her perfect pitch
memory and soon discovered that she could play any of the orchestral instruments
with little or no training. While young, she began singing country music at
local hometown fairs, then moved on to writing and singing her own Contemporary
Christian Music, where artists such as Brian Becker and Jamie Page were interested
in her writing and recorded some of her early songs. This led to her college studies of music where she became a
triple major in voice, piano and trumpet, with a minor in percussion, after
a brief foray as a mathematics/physics major.
As a music major, she became involved in many performing
groups. With a 4 ˝ octave vocal range, she joined the Davis & Elkins College Jazz Singers, where she
played trumpet and arranged music for 6 voices. She served as president of her
College Music Society, and president of the college choir, where she also was a
with her vocal performing, she played trumpet in the
Elkins Community Brass Quartet where she also arranged
music for 4 and 5 horns. In related experience, she
sat fourth and solo chair in "The 1940's Radio
Hour" and was chosen as the assistant musical director,
rehearsal pianist, vocal coach for soloists and auxiliary
percussionist for the college production of A
Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Shortly after this, she dropped the percussion minor,
and took Theatre Arts as her minor. Her original
intent was to take a beginning acting class to become
a better performer. Little did she know, that
taking that class would change her life forever.
July of 1990, she was notified that she had been chosen
from a national audition as a vocalist for the camp
and tour, "On the Road". 8 were chosen.
It was here that she met critically acclaimed
songwriters Geoff and Becky Thurman, and they expressed
interest in her as a writer. Geoff wrote and co-produced
Glenn Campbell's recent gospel album, but his claim
to fame came when he wrote the Grammy-winning song "Jehovah"
which put Amy Grant on the charts.
1991, she was given a music scholarship to Belmont University
in Nashville, TN, where she concentrated on a Commercial
Trumpet Performance degree. While there, she once again
participated in musical groups, sitting first chair
in the Belmont Concert Band, Belmont Jazz band (Under
the direction of jazz great, Jeff Kirk) and the Belmont
Student Brass Quartets and Quintets, where she once
again did music arranging. Through a cooperative agreement
University, she sat first
chair trumpet in the Vandy Marching Band where she was
also a soloist.
in Nashville, her love of theatre came back to her,
and an audition led to a 3-yr. job at the now defunct
"Avant Garage Dinner Theatre", a theatre specializing
in original comedies. It was here that she began honing
her comedy skills and in her first year there, her first
leading role got her a nomination as "Best Lead
Actress in a Comedy" for the "Nashville First
then she has done many productions in Professional and
Community Theatres in her home base of Nashville, including
ACT 1, Lakewood (where she was nominated "Best
Character Actress in a Play" her first performance
there), Performance Factory, Actor's Playhouse, Dennis
Ewing's Theatre Horizons, and Backstage Studio, now
revamped and reorganized under the name Razor's
Bridge Ensemble Theatre
under the Artistic Direction of Bill Feehely and most
recently Encore Theatre in Mt. Juliet.
favorite form of theatre is improvisational comedy,
so she began studying that as well as branching out
into stand-up comedy. "I believe whether I'm wildly
successful at it or not, stand-up will give me that
edge that a lot of comedic actors lack. It teaches you
timing, rhythm, how to write, and more importantly,
how to die in front of live people." This area
led to her working with "The Comedy Company",
an improvisational theatre company that performed "Quarterback
Comedy", based on the wildly popular "Theatre
Sports" that originated in Canada, as well as One-Hand
Clapping, an improv troupe (now defunct) that performed
both long and short-form improv.
In the summer of 2001, she was awarded the
"Musical! The Musical!" scholarship by founding
member and Second City alum, Nancy Howland Walker, for
the 2001 Funny
which allowed her to work with Second City, as well
as Cheryl King, an improv and stand-up comedy instructor.
has branched out into film and TV, and is gaining widespread
notoriety from fans, as well as peers in the industry.
October 2002, she sold her first short-story to a now
defunct internet writing company. In September
2004, she sold Bitch, a flash-fiction
to the Small Bites Anthology in honour
of horror great Charles L. Grant. Continuing her
publishing trend, she's now got two full-length comedy
and essay collections on Amazon and Shashwords, and
is guest columnist for 1st Turning Point, SpeakWithoutInterruption,
Gelati's Scoop and several others. Her historical
fiction novel, The Gaslight Journal is
now being queried to authors and ready to was published
on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords in
November 2010 in time
for Christmas. She's also nearly ready to release
her second novel, this time a comedy entitled A
Most Devout Coward.
has several hours under her belt for her single-engine
certification as a private pilot, she's fluent in German,
is a faithful practitioner of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, and is an award-winning artist in several mediums, with
oils being her favorite.
currently lives with her two cats Playdoh and Honeybump--two
co-dependent, whiny and maniacal cats who she swears
drops acid behind her back and treats her as if she's
the hired help. She also does a steady diet of web
and graphics design to help her
sate her desire for all things artistic.
has won several awards for her graphic designs.
June 6, 2011, she returned to University to complete
study for double doctorates in Applied Mathematics and
Astrophysics, but will continue to write and publish
fiction, her comedic one-woman shows and perform live
stand-up in the interim.
ultimate goal? "To be on David Letterman, and to
find a sugar-free Pop-Tart". There you have it