With the release of her first solo CD, “Girl Talk,” Jodi Stevens adds a new dimension to her career as an entertainer. Firmly established in the theatre and on screen, she is now ready to take her place on CD players and concert stages for years to come.
Born in New Jersey, Jodi and her twin brother and older sister moved often as their father relocated for work. High school was in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the place that Jodi calls “home.” Her career most probably began when she was seven years old visiting her grandfather, a bandleader in the forties in New York City. She was singing “Over the Rainbow” and remembers him exclaiming, “You have pipes!”
She had learned how to sing from her mother, a performer with her grandfather’s band. When she was seventeen, she entered the Miss Philadelphia Pageant but realized she enjoyed performing above competition. So, the runner-up in her first pageant returned the following year as a featured performer. Jodi started playing the French horn because she “heard it makes you a good kisser.” In an unrelated incident, she is also credited with saving a man from drowning.
While at Penn State University, Jodi majored in theatre with a concentration in classics. During her senior year, she auditioned for an off-Broadway show called MY NAME IS PABLO PICASSO produced at the South Street Theatre. She spent weekends in New York rehearsing for the show and left school four weeks before graduation, taking her exams via correspondence. The show ran for eight weeks and Jodi was now a New York actor. Armed with her BFA in theatre, she began training with Bill Esper and Tim Phillips, while pursuing voice with David Hickox and Katie Agresta.
Her next important musical comedy role was Sheila in the Surflight Theatre production of A CHORUS LINE. She danced and sang “At The Ballet” and began to attract the notice audiences and critics. Upon returning to New York, she began jazz and ballet dance classes. She played Antigone in ANTIGONE: THE MUSICAL at the TADA! Theatre, then Maggie in the national tour of LEND ME A TENOR. Then, in a bold move to capture the interest of the theatrical community, she produced and starred in the one act play by Tennessee Williams 27 WAGONS FULL OF COTTON at the Intar Theatre. From this she secured an agent and things began to fall into place.
She next appeared in the production of BODYSHOP at the Westbeth Theatre, receiving outstanding notices for her portrayal of an unwed mother who became and exotic dancer. Her classical training served her well when she was asked to be the guest artist at the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival where she played Viola in TWELFTH NIGHT. The same producer cast Jodi as the lady-in-waiting in CARDENIO at the Musical Theatre Works in New York. Following that run, Jodi was cast to play Lily St. Regis in the twentieth anniversary production of ANNIE at the Goodspeed Opera House under the direction of author Martin Charnin.
It was during the production of ANNIE that she secured the role in JEKYLL & HYDE that was to be her Broadway debut. Still exploring new workshops while performing eight shows a week, she developed the role of Hildy Lincoln for the Hal Prince Workshop musical production of ELLIOT NESS IN CLEVELAND. In a remarkable leap forward, Miss Stevens doubled as first cover to Linda Eder. Soon Jodi herself took the stage in the leading role of Lucy on Broadway.
During the run of JEKYLL & HYDE, she auditioned for the role of Marlene Dietrich in the La Jolla production of Barry Manilow’s HARMONY by singing “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Casting agent Jay Binder gave her the role without hesitation. She also participated in the workshop of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL and was offered a role in that production that was precluded by her commitment to HARMONY.
While working in the theatre, Jodi has pursued a television and film career. Her TV appearances have included a recurring role in CENTRAL PARK WEST, ALL MY CHILDREN, LAW AND ORDER, TRIBECA, and SEX AND THE CITY. Her film work includes Abel Ferrara’s THE FUNERAL, and the upcoming thriller DECENDENT.
In 2001, Jodi returned to La Jolla for the pre-Broadway run of DRACULA, THE MUSICAL under the direction of Des McAnuff. The fall of 2002 marks the beginning of her return to Broadway, this time to create the lead role of Pam in URBAN COWBOY, slated for a brief run in Coconut Grove and a first run on Broadway in 2003.
Jodi also lends her talents to the charitable efforts of several organizations. She records “Books on Tape” for the New York Public Library, and created “USO AIDS,” an Andrews Sisters-style vocal group that performs at the Broadway County Fair and other fundraising events.
The release of “Girl Talk” is accompanied by live performances and other recordings, including a guest appearance on the track “My Romance” recorded for Jay Leonhart’s CD “Rodgers and Leonhart,” released in fall of 2002 in conjunction with the Richard Rodgers Centennial celebration.