Welcome to this week’s SPOTLIGHT BIO on BNHM original cast member, Deb Rabbai. You can follow her on her personal BLOG!

If you have questions for DEB feel free to post one in COMMENTS.

Who or what inspired you to do improv?

When I was 16 years old (just two short years ago... OK, maybe it was a bit longer ago than that) my high school acting class went to an improv show at a place on the upper east side called "Chicago City Limits". This was before Whose Line Is It Anyway was on TV. Anyway, I saw their improv show and I was blown away. Immediately I was hooked. The cast was so talented, funny, clever, interesting and exciting. I wanted to be as smart, funny and clever as they were so I created an internship for myself with them and took classes there for three years. I joined any improv group that would have me so I could get more and more experience. But Carol Schindler who was in the cast and one of my improv teachers was a great inspiration to me.

Which came first the singing or the improv?

Well, believe it or not they both started when I was 16 years old. I wanted to be in a band and my dad felt that I should learn to sing properly so I wouldn't damage my voice and thus began my weekly voice lessons.

What was your first gig in musical improv?

I think it was one of the very earliest of incarnations of this exact show. It was on 28th street in a black box theatre. We hadn’t totally figured out what the format would be so it was basically a night of improvised songs. So. Much. Fun.

How do you keep it all together when you are up on stage doing your thing?

I think practice makes perfect, not to say that I'm perfect. I think that practicing feeling uncomfortable onstage and not knowing what to do next is a great way to get ready for the show. I think listening really helps me onstage. As long as I'm listening and staying present I can probably be pen to having an authentic perhaps even interesting or funny response to what is happening. Also having an open mind and heart help. I have a mantra that I say before any show, well, actually before anything stressful.

What is the strangest suggestion you have gotten?

It wasn't in a BNHM show but I think the most unusual suggestion I've ever gotten when doing an improv show, when asked for what you will dress up as for Halloween: A Portuguese Man O'War. This suggestion was given by a 10 year old BTW.

What is your most memorable improv moment?

One of the most memorable moments was during one of our shows when my father was in the audience. I got onstage and pulled out a song title from the bowl and before I'd looked at it, I dedicated the song to my father. I then looked down at the song title and it was "Sex, Penis, Vagina, Boob, C**k, Balls." Here's to you dad!

When you aren't found at the Phony Awards, where might you be out in the city?

I might be at a voiceover audition or working as a standardized patient at Mount Sinai hospital. You might see me on the subway heading here or there. I might be teaching my improv class at Nola studios. I might be on my way to a tap class, you just never know!

What question have you never been asked, but have always wanted to answer?

How were you able to start so far behind the eight ball in life and find your way to where you are today?

Posted on February 15, 2011 .