My acting career began in the first grade with the play The Seven Silly Simons. Having watched my father and older sister perform numerous times, I was thrilled to have my first speaking role. It was a highly acclaimed production, I assure you, and it sparked my never-ending desire to entertain.
Throughout high school and college, where I minored in music, I played everything from the Ingénue to the sidekick to a Skid Row street urchin and 17th Century storyteller. After college I continued singing in choirs, storytelling in Salem, MA for Halloween, and spent a year in Florida performing in shows as my favorite Disney characters at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort. Well, all the characters that were five feet tall that is. Yes, yes…I was a number of dwarfs.
Upon returning home to Massachusetts, I took to the stage again in local community theatre productions and large chorales, and finally landed a coveted spot in the Worcester Foothills Children’s Theatre Troupe. I spent the next several years bringing to life some of the most beloved fairy tale characters, as well as a few originals from local playwrights. It’s where I got my first taste of playing the bad guy. How terrible is it that I loved scaring the kids?
As my own children grew, finding time for the stage became more and more difficult. I was beginning to think I would need to give it up completely. Then, one day after a meet and greet at Foothills, a little girl came up to me and exclaimed, “I’m your biggest fan!” Her mother told me she came to every one of my shows and was a budding actress and singer herself. After that, I knew, there was no way I was giving this up. Not completely. I began looking for ways to continue performing that would have less impact on my family. I found it in film.
I began auditioning for History Channel documentaries, commercials and corporate videos, finding quite the little niche in the “Business Woman” and “Soccer Mom” arenas. It was a perfect fit schedule wise. I auditioned for student and independent films to continue to hone the skills I learned in college and beyond: Films where I could stretch my physical and emotional limits. Like VISIONARY where I …oh…wait I can’t tell you. It hasn’t been released yet, and I’ve been told I can’t divulge details. Watch for it this fall!
Throughout all this time, I was also pouring myself into a singing career…and tight gowns…performing across New England as a Cabaret/Lounge singer. In 2013 I was nominated for “Sexiest Musician” for the Pulse Magazine Music Awards and dubbed the “Siren of Song” at Nick’s Cabaret. “Acting” the song as myself on stage, not a character someone else created, has been incredibly challenging and rewarding. My debut CD, Here to Stay, will be released later this summer and includes an eclectic array of music from musical theatre, jazz, folk and opera.
Singing, and the training that goes along with it, provided the tools I needed to delve into the world of voiceovers. I have become the stock female voice for a company that produces short corporate videos and my voice was heard across the country in a campaign for the Lysol No Touch Hand Soap system as well as for the New Balance Psyche Sports Bras.
Corporate narrations are my forte but I would love to one day be the voice you hear on an animated series or video game and I know ongoing training and perseverance is key.
Here in Boston, we are lucky enough to have a number of outstanding workshops and classes to help us actors develop our skills, and now that my kids are older…er…still very young as I am only 28…I am enjoying studying with the most passionate people I have ever met; teachers and students alike. Cheers, to the future of film in New England. It’s a very exciting time to be working here.
Jennifer Antkowiak can be reached at email@example.com. Visit jenantkowiak.com to learn more.