The Recollections of “Flo’s” Parents Bill & Jane Courtney of Stony Point

373040_32433693228_1947440815_n1Being Stephanie’s parents has always been a joy and it still is. We are thrilled with her work on the Progressive ads, and are so glad that her talents for acting and comedy are being so well used. We can always “see” her under the two hours of hair and makeup. She is still the down-to-earth, wonderful person that she always was.

What was Stephanie like growing up? As a baby, Stephanie laughed a lot, and now she is making other people laugh. She was in lots of activities outside of school, but always came back to being on stage. She felt at home on stage. We acted out our favorite stories at home when she was little, and then in elementary school she was Snoopy in a shortened version of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” in first grade. Later she was in some plays at Farley Middle School, specifically one of many “nuns” in “The Sound of Music”, and the following year she was one of the young romantic “male” leads in “Hello Dolly,” where she sang and danced all over the stage. At North Rockland High School, she was in the two productions they did each school year, one straight play and one musical. Of those 8 productions, we remember: in Freshman year, she had a small role as a Russian noble woman, complete with accent; in “You Can’t Take It With You”; and she was one of the Salvation Army ladies in “Guys and Dolls”; in Sophomore year she was one of the crazy sisters in “Arsenic and Old Lace” and one of the town Elders in “Music Man”; in Junior year, she was in “Present Laughter”, and “Pajama Game”; and in Senior year she was an interfering mother in “Plaza Suite,” and she sang and danced in “Brigadoon”. She was also on the swim team, in marching band and concert band and chorus and in the Honor Society.

After High School, she attended Binghamton University. While she majored in English, she also was very involved in Drama at the college. She appeared in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate,” and later was Dulcinea in the Theater Department’s production of “Man of La Mancha.” That was a powerful and moving performance far removed from musical comedy. And for the last few years of college she stayed in Binghamton during the summer to act in the local dinner theater/summer-stock productions, which included “Nunsense,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Dames at Sea,” and “A Christmas Carol.”

After graduating from Binghamton, Stephanie studied acting/performance for two years at the Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan. We saw her perform there as well, especially in their production of “The House of Blue Leaves”. After completing those two years, she started pursuing comedy by doing some “stand up” appearances in comedy clubs in Manhattan, such as at “Caroline’s.”

She decided to pursue acting, improvisation and performance in LA, where there were more opportunities. While there she acted in a play “Melvin Goes to Dinner,” and later acted in the movie that was made from that play. She has appeared in commercials, movies, TV shows, and in live improvisation appearances at the Groundlings Theater in LA. She is doing beautiful work now with the Progressive ads, and still fits in live improvisation performances on a regular basis.

When people find out that “Flo” is our daughter, they are always very happy, and tell us how much they love her. It makes us very happy to hear that, and we pass that along to her, so that she knows what a positive impact her performance is having. She still brings joy to our lives, as do our other two wonderful daughters, Jennifer and Stacey.

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