Known for her trademark comedic turns, actor Rose Abdoo developed her unique sense of humor here in Michigan. She was born in Detroit and attended Southfield High School before earning a degree in Communications from Michigan State. It was also at MSU that Rose discovered her passion for acting, having done 25 shows with the MSU College of Performing Arts.
Then on to Chicago, where she performed in one of the very first productions done outside New York of Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers as well as Laughter on the 23rd Floor. Rose also honed her improv skills with Chicago's famous Second City theatre company. She's done 118 performances of The Vagina Monologues, a female version of The Odd Couple with Barbara Eden, and won the Los Angeles Solo Show of the Year Award for her own show entitled, Get to the Part About Me. When not on a stage, Rose has racked up an impressive list of onscreen credits as well. Most notably, children will recognize her as Senorita Rodriguez in That's So Raven, while others know her as Gypsy, the lovable mechanic from Gilmore Girls.
BMN: At what point did you realize you wanted a career in the arts?
ROSE: I had some great teachers and professors at both Southfield High and MSU that really encouraged me to take this seriously as a career. I read that quote “Find something you love to do and it will feel like you never work a day in your life,” so once I was paid to perform summer theatre at MSU it occurred to me: “Hey I should find a way to make a living acting!” I spent only 1 year working in an office in Chicago right after school and other than that all 29 years I have had no other job but acting. I can hardly believe it myself!
BMN: How do you think growing up in Michigan impacted your life and career?
ROSE: I think there is a strong Midwestern work ethic. My parents were very supportive. I always thought of my pursuit of acting as being skilled in a trade and never as a way to be famous. I have been described in LA as “down to earth” I take that as a compliment and attribute it to my Michigan roots. I seem to gravitate toward other people in my field here in LA who were also raised in the Midwest.
BMN: What was the Michigan State experience like for you?
ROSE: I enjoyed it tremendously. Even though I majored in Communications I was welcomed by the Theatre Department. In those days we used to register for classes in person at the MSU racquetball courts. I remember it was like waiting for a popular concert and it took hours! I used to joke that I had so many theatre classes because the lines for those were much shorter and I wanted to get out and go to lunch! So perhaps my impatience for long lines contributed to my career in the arts!
BMN: Michigan is quickly becoming known as the Hollywood of the Midwest. How do you think that level of awareness will impact locals dreaming of a career in entertainment compared to your experience here?
ROSE: I think it’s terrific that someone who wants to pursue an entertainment career will have so many more opportunities now than we had in the 80’s or 90’s. I look forward to giving a personal film tax incentive to anyone who hires me to be in one of their Michigan made films! I can be considered a “local hire” because I can stay with my mother! She still lives in Southfield in the house I grew up in and informs me of every movie being made in Michigan.
BMN: What advice do you have for Michigan kids who want a career in the arts?
ROSE: First of course is “Go to school & become skilled in your trade.” I had a professor at MSU say to me : “ Find someone whose career you admire and then go try to do what they did.” It seemed like ridiculously simple advice. But two of my idols growing up were Gilda Radner and Lily Tomlin. Ironically both Michigan ladies like me. I auditioned & was hired by Second City in Chicago like Gilda. It was the best career move I could have made. I later wrote a one person show that the Chicago critics compared to Lily Tomlin. A big career highlight for me. I would say keep creating your own original projects whether it be as a director, actor, or producer. In this day and age so much attention can be gained using the internet to promote your work.
BMN: What are some of your favorite places in Michigan?
ROSE: I love Charlevoix, the cherry festival time in Traverse City, Petoskey, the Franklin Cider Mill, Greektown in Detroit, the tulip festival in Holland, my old neighborhood Magnolia in Southfield, and Mackinac Island . My parents really took us exploring on short vacations all over the state!
BMN: What do you miss most now that your career has taken you elsewhere to live?
ROSE: The four seasons and beautiful Michigan fall colors. I still come back to visit of course to see the trees. Sometimes after days of relentless sunny weather here...I miss a good old fashioned Michigan summer thunderstorm! Also I used to love Pine Knob and Meadowbrook!
BMN: What are your thoughts on our campaign and the idea of supporting local businesses?
: Well certainly locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community!! I must admit I got that quote from my friend from MSU days, Joan Tobin Rozelle. (She has this company with her husband Bob: www.eatlocalfood.com
). I do think it’s important to support all local businesses not just food, but I am very interested in MIichigan food! My sister Lucia Falek is Quality Assurance director of Butterball Farms in Grand Rapids. I took a fascinating tour of the facility. I would say there are no better- tasting butterballs in any state! Support them, the butter is beautiful!
BMN: What new projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing?
ROSE: I will appear in the Nia Vardalos directed film I Hate Valentines Day and the new Showtime show LOOK. I also have a pre-teen movie out on DVD called Legally Blondes 3.
: What Shout Out
do you have for your friends and fans in Michigan?
ROSE: I so appreciate all the support and love over the years of people from Michigan. They are the most loyal fans of my TV and movie performances. My Shout Out is A BIG MITTEN SHAPED THANK YOU!!