Melissa Fitzgerald life and biography

Melissa Fitzgerald picture, image, poster

Melissa Fitzgerald biography

Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace :
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-10-04
Credited as : Actress, The West Wing movie, Voices in Harmony

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Growing up in a political family in Philadelphia certainly prepared Melissa Fitzgerald for her role as Carol, C.J. Cregg's assistant on NBC's Emmy Award-winning drama The West Wing. The daughter of a prominent judge, Melissa's early aspirations were to follow in her father's footsteps. However,
after earning a degree in drama and literature from the University of Pennsylvania, she moved to New York City and continued her training at the Neighborhood Playhouse, where she studied with Sanford Meisner, and soon became an active member of the theatre community as both an actor and a producer.

As a founding member of the Our Gang Theatre Company, she produced four critically and financially successful plays. She worked closely with Israel Horovitz on several of his plays including North Shore Fish and Stage Directions, both in New York and regionally. She has also appeared in numerous theatrical productions including Strange Sightings in the Great Southwest at the Sanford Meisner Theatre and Awkward Silence at Second Stage. In 1997, Melissa starred in the Los Angeles premiere of Graham Reid's modern Irish classic, Remembrance, with Irene Ryan, Leo Penn and James Gandolfini, produced by Sean Penn and the Helicon Theatre Company.

Melissa's film work includes a starring role in the upcoming independent feature It Is What It Is with Jonathan Silverman where she plays Janeen, an unhappily single, frustrated photographer. She also appeared in Ted Demme's Monument Avenue with Denis Leary and Martin Sheen, New Line's Frequency with Dennis Quaid and the Lion's Gate film Love And Sex with Jon Favreau and Famke Jansenn. She produced and starred in the award-winning short films The Painter and The Date, both directed by Noah Emmerich, with The Painter winning the prestigious Cine Eagle Award.

Melissa is also a singer and has performed cabaret at venues in Paris, Madrid, Los Angeles and New York and including the Village Gate and Don't Tell Mama's.

Although Melissa was very busy with her acting career, she still felt the need to be actively involved in community service, a principle that was instilled in her by her parents since childhood. This led Melissa to establish Voices in Harmony, a non-profit community outreach theatre program that mentors at-risk youth from the Los Angeles area. Founded in 1995, the program provides teenagers with positive adult role models and tutors to help them achieve in school and succeed in life. Using theatre as a forum for exploration, the teens are encouraged to examine issues such as drug abuse, violence, racism and prejudice. Paired with a mentor, they create an original short play or film based on how these issues affect their lives. Professional writers and directors then offer their expertise, helping the team bring their vision to the stage or screen. The result is an opportunity for the team to share their stories in order to make a positive impact on the community.

Each year Voices in Harmony presents their production to sold-out audiences at Los Angeles' premiere theatrical venues and has attracted national and local press coverage including CNN and the Los Angeles Times. Over the years, the organization has enjoyed considerable support and participation from members of the entertainment community including John Lithgow, Alfre Woodard, Renee Zellweger, Bonnie Hunt, Lauren Holly, Chris Klein, Famke Jansenn and Kristen Johnston.

In order to reach a wider audience, Voices in Harmony recently produced Listen, a film written and performed by the teens and their mentors that explores the challenges of growing up in urban Los Angeles. As president of "Voices," Melissa hopes that the organization will continue to grow and that every teen in need of a mentor will have one. She looks forward to the day when those who have graduated from the program will come back as adult mentors and share their knowledge and experience with teens.

Melissa currently resides in Los Angeles. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, scuba diving, sea kayaking, and of course, being a mentor.

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