A New Jersey native, Gabrielle is the daughter of two 60's hippies, Peter Wagner and Joyce Snyder, and grew up listening to HAIR and Joni Mitchell and Godspell and Janis Joplin and South Pacific and Joan Baez. She lived for the yearly television showings of The Sound of Music and Camelot. Around age 6, her parents took her and her sister, Heather, to NY to see Pirates of Penzance and Annie on the same day. Fifth row center at Annie, she KNEW that was what she wanted to do. Dancing since the age of four, she began acting at the age of 8 when she starred in her 3rd grade production, playing the role of the Princess of Mathematics. She travelled to the countries of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and yes, you guessed it, Division. She caught the bug bad and went on to be in every school play there was and joined the Spring Lake Community Theater program to learn as much as she could about this craft. Her first production there at the ripe age of 14 was as a street urchin in the musical Scrooge, which garnered her her best review to date.
She went on to attend Smith College in Northampton, MA as a Theater and Dance major and Music and Physics minor (yes, random) and in fulfilling a technical requirement in the Theater Department found her love of Lighting Design. In her senior year, she attended the Motley Design School and BADA in London, focussing mainly on design but secretly jealous that she wasn't acting. After graduating, she moved to San Francisco for a Lighting Design internship with Berkeley Rep and studied Acting at A.C.T Conservatory in San Francisco as well. She designed and acted in various shows there and juggled her time trying to do both. She knew she had to pick one to really focus on but couldn't decide. Steve Bai, a good friend at the time, posed the question in a way that hit home. He asked, "When you're at the board, making cues, setting levels and changing fade times, do you ever look down at the actors onstage and wish it was you?" Gabi: "Yeah, all the time". Him: "And when you're onstage as an actor during cue to cue and level sets, do you ever look up at the booth and wish you were designing?" (pause) (pause) Gabi: "No, I really don't."
THAT moment gave her absolute clarity and she never looked back. (Thank you Steve, wherever you are.)
Finally making the move to Los Angeles in 1995, her first job was on the tabloid show HARD COPY as the Assistant to the Executive in Charge of Production. Here she learned about working hard for very little money, but also had a lot of fun, gained valuable experience and met many wonderful people who are now all working on other various Reality shows. She joined a theater company, Theater Geo, run by the wonderful Geo Hartley. It was here that she met her husband, director, Alex Craig Mann, while she was designing lights for a show and he held her ladder. It was he who introduced Gabi to The Beverly Hills Playhouse via a Dreams Into Action seminar with Milton Katselas in 1996. It rocked her world and she began the BHP in Gary Imhoff's Musical Theater Workshop only a few months later in October of 1996, and then Jocelyn Jones' class in January of 1998. She "moved up" in 2000 to study with Jeffrey Tambor and Richard Lawson and eventually with Milton himself in the Master Class in 2003. Since Milton's passing in October of 2008, director Howie Deutsch has taken over the teaching of the Master class, where she still studies, alongside the likes of Doris Roberts, Harry Hamlin, Michael Nouri, Gene Reynolds, Autumn Reeser, Bryan Callen, Brynn Thayer and Joan van Ark, among others.
In 2009, Gabi had the time of her life in Erin Kamler's DIVORCE! the Musical which ran for 5 and 1/2 months at the Hudson Mainstage. Publicly and critically acclaimed, it and she were nominated for many Los Angeles Theater Awards, including 5 Ovations, 2 LADCCs, 3 LA WEEKLY and 2 Garlands. DIVORCE! the musical may quite possibly have a new life in Chicago and New York under a new title, Till Death Do Us Part, so stay tuned. To hear some of the cast recording from this show, click here.
Her other favorite Los Angeles theatrical experience was playing Polly Peachum opposite Paul Dillon's Macheath in Ron Sossi's production of The Threepenny Opera at the Odyssey Theater. She received a Garland Award nod for that role.
Although Musical Theater and Operetta is her first love and genre, Gabi is proud to have met and worked with some other wonderful people in Los Angeles including being directed by Joss Whedon in the Firefly pilot (a short lived series but cult fave), and George Clooney in his HBO pilot Unscripted. She did her one stint on a reality show as one of the contestants to be the next Shirley Partridge on VH1's In Search of the Partridge Family. And she has a great, funny role in new movie, Slam I Am , coming out in October of 2010.
Gabi is also an avid poker player and was California Ladies State Champion of 2007, beating out the likes of baseball star Jose Canseco (booed for playing a Ladies' event, ha ha), 2 months after giving birth to her son, Parker.
She lives in Burbank, CA with husband, Alex, beautiful son, Parker and dog, Fred. Gabi is a pround member of the Actors Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild.