Toni has been acting and singing all her life and over much of the south. Moving between Louisiana, Alabama and Arkansas following her father’s schooling and career, Toni learned quickly how to engage people and became an avid student of the arts.
In the 3rd grade, Toni determined that she wanted to be a live storyteller, creating content that makes a positive impact on people, and this desire and drive has never left her. Her early years provided many opportunities for growth in the areas of acting, theatre production, singing and dance.
Toni began her college education at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock where, she
As a student at the historic Little Rock Central High School, she began winning countless acting competitions and was inducted into the International Thespian Society. Her leadership skills were recognized by her earliest teachers who selected her as one of 2 students to participate in Girls State, a junior state government role playing weekend.
demonstrated her ability to be a team player in being the ‘go-to girl’ for all visiting theatrical
events needing additional cast members. While at UALR Toni began her first work in Children’s
Theater at the school and also with the community Little Rock Children’s Theater.
Leaving the south to find the ocean, Toni transferred to the Boston Conservatory of Music where she graduated with honors. It was there she realized that her wide understanding of acting techniques and her love of actors gave her a unique ability not only to create vivid characters of depth and distinction.That time at BCM also exposed her ability to draw stellar performances from other actors making her a director in demand.
Following college, Toni did a run of Dinner Theater and was encouraged to make the move to CA to see her directing and acting segue into film. She has never looked back. She continued doing theater for the well know Theater West company, and Lloyd Schwarz- Storybook Theater. It was at Theater West that she began working with her mentor Betty Garrett of On The Town, Laverne and Shirley, and the like.
Following the birth of her first daughter, Toni lessened her involvement in the business for a time. She remained active in small ways though, such as taking the role of Artistic and Stage Director for the Fisherman’s Players, a Burbank theatrical community. She was also found producing and starring in theatrical and film events for nonprofits such as Doctors without Borders, Joni and Friends, and World Vision, finally enrolling in Film School at Valley College to narrow the gaps between what she knew experiencially and what she could learn technically.
While there Toni learned from the likes of directors Eric Swelstad of “Frankenstein Rising” and Alan Sacks of “Welcome Back Kotter” about the importance of story and directing the camera to help tell the story. Toni believes she will stay a student all of her life. She is always learning more about people, about life and how to translate that in a medium that makes a positive impact on others.
Since returning to the industry, Toni has continued to coach and direct actors; on sets, for auditions, to improve memorization skills, to understand comedy, and in improve/listening skills.