In Australia, Jackie made great strides with her singing and performing through her wonderful friend and mentor, Paulene Terry-Beitz. An incredible actor, director and writer, she took Jackie under her wing and together they devised Jackie’s first one-woman show, “Black Pearls and Strange Fruit.”
“The show would have never happened without Paulene. It was her idea that I needed my own vehicle in the first place. I would have never found the courage or the belief in my abilities without her. And when she had to leave five weeks before opening, because her partner had a heart attack, I almost had one, too. I was petrified, but the show must go on and I was very glad it did.”
“Black Pearls and Strange Fruit” debuted in the Melbourne Fringe Festival, beating all 150 other shows for the coveted Best Show prize.
“I couldn’t believe it! Four weeks of sold-out performances and to top it off, we’d won the opportunity to have the show produced in the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts. Alongside Dance Theater of Harlem, Leslie Caron, The New Budapest String Quartet, Amanda McBroom. And Paulene would be back to direct it. Pretty exciting for my first show!”
She got on the corporate circuit, performing shows for BMW, Bolle, Macquarie Bank, as well as private clients. The challenge was keeping her image in the public eye. The second run of “Black Pearls and Strange Fruit” was scheduled for a year later. She had to do something in between…
“A funny thing happened during the debut of “Black Pearls and Strange Fruit.” A blurb was written about it in the “Epicure” section of The Age newspaper, the equivalent of the New York Times “Dining Out” section. They’d picked up on my being a chef and wrote, “Come down for some real southern fried chicken.” All of a sudden I’m getting calls from people who want to come to the “dinner show.” My reaction was, “What?!!!” It was all I could do to put on a show, now they’re asking about dinner and a show, for only $12.00? But it gave me a great idea…”