It didn't take long for April to literally stumble into a small movie roll upon her arrival in Hollywood. She played a young senorita in the western, Bullwhup. Soon she began performing in small theatre. Her drama studies started at Pierce College, eventually studying with prominate acting coaches. After the normal struggles, Shenandoah progressed from industrial films to bit parts on TV, such as Starsky & Hutch and Switch (starring Robert Wagner) plus game shows and commercials. Her last commercial was for Pollo Loco Chicken airing in Japan.
A move to New York enabled her to put her dance training to work. A memorable gig was when her New York agent booked her in a dance revue in Puerto Rico, where she appeared with the late Lillion Roth, whose life story was portrayed by Susan Hayward in I'll Cry Tomorrow. April's five year stay in Manhattan has endeared her to the Big Apple. Even now she says, "Sometimes I envision myself in New York walking in the rain. I love rain."
On her return to California, April discovered her talent for producing and directing. She started with fund raisers and then returned to her theatre roots. The first fund raiser - for Media Focus (a ministry for media), honored 90 year old Leonard Eilers, The Preaching Cowboy. The dais included friends, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Rhonda Fleming, Alvy Moore, and Lloyd Ogilvie (Chaplain of the Senate). Her biggest undertaking was the star studded Christmas show, Deck the Halls with Bows of Hollywood. Her farewell theatrical production was Wall of Water directed by Renee Taylor (The Nanny). It starred Dorothy Lyman (Mama's Family) and Robin Strasser.
Her career has been varied to say the least, from being a clown on the Jerry Lewis Telethon, to being a part of the opening act at the Evel Knievel jump in Snake River, Idaho, where she assisted the Great Manzini (escape artist), to winning the Ms. Unknown contest in Las Vegas singing and dancing with a bag on her head. April's prize was an appearance in the movie Night Patrol starring Murray Langston (the Unknown Comic), Pat Paulson, Linda Blair, JP Morgan, Billy Barty. And, then there was the Judy Bailey Theatre's "Magic Show", where she was "burned alive" nightly. Shenandoah chuckles at her show biz escapades, especially when she remembers her brief stint as the weather girl on Channel 5 in Las Vegas. She knew nothing about reporting weather, but it made great comedy.
A few years back, Shenandoah took a one year sabbatical. During that time, she discovered there is more to life than Show Business (however, her creative juices still flow when called upon). God intervened in her life, impressing on her the role of Ambassador of Prayer. Her "stealth" ministry takes her in and out of Washington DC, and sometimes to parts unknown.
In 1988, April served as the Los Angeles press contact for the Pat Robertson presidential campaign. She became politically active, thinking she was going to change the world. April soon realized the "system" did not operate the way she had thought, or hoped. Because of this experience, she has made it a priority to be well informed. For more than 12 years, Shenandoah has researched the intent of our Forefathers and gathered material pertinent to the "changing times" of the world we live in. She is soaking up Constitutional Law and the Separation of Church and State issues. While taping her former cable TV talk show, The Bottom Line(politics & religion), Shenandoah's conservative message resounded, boldly. She says, "I will not let 'political correctness' intimidate me."
April's writing skills surfaced once again, in 1990, when she was approached to write a film script based on the life of real estate mogul, Tom Vu. Though the film never went into production, Shenandoah remembers it being her first payed writing job. She then did double duty: public relations for Robson Entertainment during their grassroots campaign, for the pig movie Gordy, and consulting for the newly formed American Family Entertainment. Need an "idea" - call April!!!
In 1993, while attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, she was inspired to write So...Help Me God!. Her unique letter/book, addressed to President Clinton, is an inspirational and educational work embraced by many in the political arena. It was published by Eden Street Productions, in 1999. By invitation, she delivered a special leather bound copy to the White House for President Clinton. Acknowledgement came when Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant, presented Shenandoah with the Year 2000 Irwin Award For "The Best News Tie-In Campaign" by the Book Publicists of Southern California.
April's column, Politics & Religion, can be seen in the Tolucan Times (Toluca Lake, CA) and is soon to be picked up in cities across the country. Her TV and radio interviews cross over between secular and Christian, likewise with her speaking and book promotions.
April's story, Show Business to God's Business, appears in the book "Women Crowned in Glory", The Compelling Life-Changing Stories of 12 Women, compiled by Trish Steele. Shenandoah sits on the advisory board of The National Council of Bible Curriculum in the Public Schools, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina and ABC-Learn, Inc., San Fernando, California.
She has lived in all three of the "entertainment capitals": Hollywood, New York and Las Vegas. However, this city girl is also a little bit country - longing for a log cabin (or horse ranch), where she will relax and enjoy writing her endless list of books and commentary.
She has one grown son, Robert Gean, and she presently resides in Branson, Missiouri.
April Shenandoah explains her childhood as being a "happy days" experience. She was adopted by her loving grandparents and grew up in the small town of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. Her time was consumed with tap, ballet, piano, cheerleading and baton twirling her way to head majorette. Her weekly column In Tune With Teens, for the Jersey Shore Herald, pegged her as one of the youngest journalists in the country. April and her best friend, Betty, known as the Bopettes, sang and danced around town as well as writing and directing their high school assemblies. Musical comedy brought out her wild and crazy side. Singing "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun", donning pig tails and blacked-out teeth, she won second place in the Ted Mack Amateur Contest. During a Saturday movie matinee, watching Singing in the Rain, she was bitten by the "acting bug".
After graduation and while preparing to go to Hollywood, it was love at first sight when she spotted an exceptionally handsome man, in a local restaurant. That same day, she told her mother she met the man she was going to marry. Three months later they married and moved to California. Unfortunately as young marriages sometimes go, it only lasted five years.