Local singer, actress and voice-over artist, Monica Lynn Passley, is well-known throughout Houston for her appearances on stage at several local theatres and her voice-over work with Seraphim Recording (formerly ADV Films).
In December of 2010, Monica won the Houston round of the "Country Strong Singing Challenge" that was held at Goode's Armadillo Palace. The contest was sponsored by Country Music Television and Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. Monica's video was loaded onto the CMT website along with those of the 15 other national finalists. Monica also appeared on Fox 26 and 104 KRBE as the winner of the "Houston Idol 2" contest in 2003.
Monica grew up listening to and singing country music. It was through school that she was introduced to opera and musical theater.
"Whenever I go out to sing at an open mic or karaoke, I always end up singing country music. I guess we always find our way back to our roots. I just love performing...whether it's country, pop, jazz or musical theatre, I can't imagine not finding a way to do it all." ~ Monica Lynn Passley
With a music collection that rivals the most austere critic, Monica refuses to restrict her influences to one genre. Instead, she has been influenced by numerous artists, including the likes of Dolly Parton, Tiffany, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Amy Kuney, The Andrews Sisters, Kate Voegele, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd, Miranda Lambert, Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth, among many others.
Monica attended the multi-Grammy award-winning High School for the Performing and Visual Arts as a vocal music major and briefly studied music and journalism at Stephen F. Austin State University before returning to Houston to pursue her singing and acting career.
It didn't take long for Monica to latch on and find her place in the Houston musical theatre scene. While walking out of the theatre after her first audition, she was handed a sheet of paper with a phone number on it. She called to find out she was being offered the role of Veruca Salt in "WONKA!," and subsequently performed her first post high school role in the black box at Stages Theatre with DADA Productions and Express Children's Theatre.
In the spring of 2002 she landed the part of Sissy Bardeen in "For Married's Only," a touring show produced by Texas Theatrical Productions. She spent six weekends touring Corpus and San Antonio. That fall, she began working with The Masquerade Theatre, and by 2003 she had become a resident company member. While with Masquerade Theatre, Monica performed in a number of shows, both in the smaller space on Shepherd and in Zilkah Hall at The Hobby Center. Some of her favorites include: "Jane Eyre" (Blanche Ingram), "Jekyll and Hyde" (Emma), "I Remember Mama" (Katrin), "Fiddler on the Roof" (Chava), and "The Sound of Music" (Liesel). She remained with Masquerade Theatre for four years, during which time she worked with children and teens at The Tribble School of Professional Musical Theatre.
Since leaving Masquerade Theatre, Monica has explored her opportunities at other local theatres. She has played numerous roles, but some of her favorites include: Theatre Southwest: "Vanities" (Joanne) ; Country Playhouse: "Mr. Marmalade" (Lucy), "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" (Woman 1), "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" (Logainne), "RENT" (Mimi u/s; Mark's Mom), and "Little Women" (Beth); Upstage Theatre: "Gilligan's Island: The Musical" (Mary Ann).
More recently, Monica has been seen on stage at the Hideout during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo singing the National Anthem to open each night, and singing London Homesick Blues with Gary P. Nunn. She has also become something of a regular on the fields at Minute Maid Park (10 games in the 2015 season alone!) and Constellation Field singing the American National Anthem and God Bless America for Houston Astros and Sugarland Skeeters games, and mid court at the Toyota Center singing the American and Canadian National Anthems prior to Houston Rockets games. She aspires to someday add a Houston Texans game and the main stage at HLSR to that list.
In early 2012, Monica was chosen to sing alongside many award winning NYC Broadway performers in Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway at Jones Hall. Throughout the rest of 2012 and 2013, she made multiple trips to Nashville, TN and had the opportunity to sing onstage at several bars on Broadway, including Tootsies World Famous Orchid Lounge, Rippy’s BBQ, and Honky Tonk Central. She was also thrilled to be invited to work on some of her original music with Jill Colucci, writer of songs such as ‘No One Else on Earth’ (Wynonna Judd) and ‘I’m Gonna Be Somebody’ and ‘Anymore’ (Travis Tritt).
Monica has been teaching private voice lessons since 2003 and is currently a Traffic Analyst at Kirby Inland Marine in Houston, TX. She is pursuing a degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology at The Pennsylvania State University - World Campus. She has been a volunteer on the Corral Club Committee (at the Hideout) for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo for 8 seasons, and is passionate about being a part of something that gives so much back to the community in the form of scholarships that will help shape future generations.
With the success of her first solo cabaret and "semi-professional" CD during the summer of 2012, Monica is looking to expand her own personal horizon. She is currently working on music for a new project to be recorded soon, and has hopes of it making its way into the hands of someone who may be able to help her further her dream of becoming a household name in cities other than Houston, TX and Webb City, Mo.