For Patti Vickerman, performance is a family business. Her mother performed in New York City as a singer before Patti and her sister were born. Her father, Jim Byrnes, taught Patti to dance and the two of them performed as a duo for fifteen years. Their act, in vaudeville tradition, incorporated tap dance and comedic bits which featured Patti’s signature “deadpan” punch lines.
Jimmy Byrnes and Patti toured America and Europe and performed on local television stations, at state fairs, and in comedy clubs. Anything could happen on the road, recalled Patti, from a pigeon landing on her head during a performance to sharing an elevator with Gene Kelly.
Though Patti left the act at age twenty, her career in tap dance persisted. She owned and operated a dance school in the Chicago suburbs and performed in the early years of Especially Tap Chicago while maintaining a career as an emergency room nurse. Her work was recently seen in Audible Odyssey‘s latest production.