Who is She?
Hi and welcome! I'm Jillian, a Louisville, Kentucky native who got my start onstage when my second grade teacher knew both that the Kentucky Opera needed a kid for a production and that she had a student who needed an outlet for performance.
After stepping out onstage at Whitney Hall, I was hooked. I received my bachelor’s degree in Classical Voice from Belmont University & went on to Oklahoma City University to study for my Masters in Musical Theatre, which was a perfect fit.
In grad school, I met Michael Schafer - an operatic tenor and pure joy in human form. A year into our relationship, he found a sore on his tongue that was diagnosed as cancer. On May 29th, 2015 we got married and 11 days later, he passed away only 8 months after his initial diagnosis.
Until then, I had thought I was an upbeat person with few dark feelings. In the deep grief of Michael’s death, I took my first Meisner class and it opened up my world. Meisner helped me to break through the defenses of faux brightness and laughter to find acceptance for all facets of myself - light and dark.
Discovering Meisner helped me realize how many of my performances had been stifled because of my constant criticisms of myself and my voice. I knew that singers, of all artists, needed this.
I created Meisner in Music and discovering how Meisner could live in musical performances was life-altering. 2019-2020 was our first completely sold-out year of classes and we are now in the full swing of classes and community that help singers to feel safe, trust their voices, and know that they are enough.
I now live, sing, and coach out of New York and am still happily (most of the time) delving into the crazy art form of musical theatre.