McKinley has made Chicago her home for over twenty years, working as an actor, singer, and cabaret artist.
She started doing childrens theatre in her hometown of Minneapolis, MN at age 10. By 13, she was thrilled to be cast in the Guthrie Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol, under the direction of Garland Wright. Her time there sealed her love for theatre, the actors’ life, and the dream of making it a lifelong career. She pursued a BFA in musical theatre at Syracuse University, and with a brief stop in NYC, came to Chicago to test the waters.
She has performed at every major Chicago theatre and musical theatre venue in Chicagoland, with the great honor of being a part of the inaugural productions for the new homes for Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre, and most recently, Writers Theatre. She enjoys the variety of work that Chicago offers, from musical theatre to Shakespeare to contemporary plays, and feels very fortunate to have to the opportunity to work in so many different genres.
She is a 2 time Jeff Award Nominee, and an After Dark Award recipient for her cabaret work. She has performed her own solo cabaret shows at Millennium Park, Metropolis Performing Arts Center and Davenports Piano & Cabaret Bar, and considers it to be the most terrifying, but most rewarding work she does.
You may find her kayaking in Lake Michigan on any day above 60 degrees.