Wendee Cole got bit by the theatre bug at the tender age of 10, when she landed her first job performing in Chicago’s Spotlight Theatre production of “The King & I.” Playing “Princess Ying Yalowac,” little Wendee’s big moment on stage was when she had to run to Anna, shake her skirt, and cry out “Please Mrs. Anna, do not go away!” She was hooked! At age 12 she begged her parents to let her attend the famous Harrand Studios. Every Saturday she commuted from the suburbs all the way downtown, and joyfully ran up and down the studio stairs with her theatre pals, from one rehearsal room to another, taking singing, acting, and dancing lessons and practicing for shows. She LOVED it!
All throughout Middle and High School, Wendee landed leading roles, and is still fondly referred to as “Dolly” (“Hello Dolly”) by her best buddies. Hot on pursuit for an acting career, the actress headed out West where she was accepted at UCLA, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Theatre Arts. Wendee held down all kinds of jobs while pursuing a professional career. While honing her comic and improvisation skills with “The Groundlings” and “Off The Wall , she earned money by pumping gas at a USA gas station, ushering at UCLA’s Pauley Pavillion, and for 2 ½ years worked as a cashier at The Comedy Store. To this day she can still recite the best of Robin Williams and Jay Leno’s stand-up routines!
Wendee (Winters) went on to perform her one-woman Musical Comedy Cabaret act at clubs all over the country, and could be seen regularly on Monday nights as the fabulously funny comedienne/singer host of Studio I Backlot in West Hollywood. She got her “15 minutes of fame” big break however, when she was asked to fly to New York to star in the original cast of what became the long-running smash hit show, “Forbidden Broadway.” Featured doing her hilarious spoofs of “Ann Miller” “Mary Martin,” and “Annie” in People and Vogue Magazine, she received rave reviews and tons of press.
After a successful run in the Big Apple, Wendee returned to LA and shortly thereafter became Hollywood’s first female “warm-up artist.” For over 15 years she entertained studio audiences of popular sitcom hits such as “Facts of Life,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Silver Spoons,” “227,” “Night Court,” “Designing Women,” “Grace Under Fire, “Evening Shade,” “Caroline In The City,” plus hundreds more. During that time, she also made various on-camera appearances on tv including “Friends,” “Yes, Dear,” “Chicago Hope,” “Ally McBeal,” “Caroline In the City,” plus numerous commercials… and even landed her very own late night tv show as the Host on Fox-TV’s “Comedy Express!”
Meanwhile, Wendee (now Mrs. Cole) was also volunteering in her daughter’s elementary school classrooms, writing and directing Readers Theatre and small theatre productions. The little kids loved performing, teachers and parents were impressed, and eventually Wendee phased out of doing “warm-ups.” She moved on to re-create her Harrand Studios experience for everyone by opening up her own studio, “Wendee’s Workshop.”
Along with her friend and musical director, Sara Ballantine, she taught kids acting, singing, and dancing; and wrote, produced, and directed original musical productions such as “The Amazing Adventures of Captain Underpants,” “When Harry Met Sally Potter, ” and Variety Showcases. Parents, kids, and audiences loved the Workshop and Shows, and Ms. Cole found herself offering free advice and helping kids break into show business.
So, in 2004, combining her love for kids with her experience in “the biz,” she took the next logical step and started up her own company, Wendee Cole Management! Currently, Wendee manages her boutique client list of children, teens, and young adults. She prides herself in selecting talented, dedicated kids with terrific (well-behaved) parents, and places her clients with top-notch talent agencies. Agents and Casting Directors welcome Wendee’s calls and pitches because they love her comedic approach, sense of humor, and singing telegrams!! Many of the Producers and Directors who know her from the good ‘ole “warm-up” days trust her judgment and pay extra special attention to her submissions. The Wendee Cole Management client roster is most impressive and she is always on the lookout for fresh, new talent. She is a hands-on manager, always and foremost looking out for the well-being, happiness, and progress of each child she represents. Wendee’s unique approach with kids, parents, and the whole Industry is fun, warm, honest, and energetic!