Vail Valley native goes prime time |

Vail Valley native goes prime time

Special to the DailyVail Valley native Bryn Abbott makes her prime time television debut tonight on CBS' "Criminal Minds." Abbott graduated Battle Mountain High School and lives in Los Angeles.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Valley native Bryn Abbott is making the move from Vail to primetime.

Abbott is working as an actress and comedian in Los Angeles and makes her primetime debut Wednesday on the CBS drama “Criminal Minds.”

“It is wild to be a part of something that reaches more 14 million households,” Abbott says.

Abbott plays Michelle Weston, the distraught best friend of a murder victim who is brought to the police for questioning.

When she auditioned for “Criminal Minds,” she walked into the room filled with 25 people: writers, producers, directors – all kinds of people working on the show.

“Walking into that many people made me a little nervous, but I pushed it aside, read for it and got it. I went in a couple weeks later and shot it,” Abbott said. “I can’t wait for it to air.”

“Criminal Minds” has been on CBS for six seasons, getting great ratings.

“It’s one of those shows that gives people nightmares. It can be kind of terrifying,” Abbott said.

Hollywood is a long way from Vail in so many ways, but she has known her own mind since she was 8 years old. She wanted to act, so she started young and eventually majored in theater at the University of Southern California.

“From the school plays at Edwards Elementary with Mrs. Gulizia to community theater with Anna Scully, my excitement for being on stage was really supported by such passionate people,” Abbott said.

She studied under Suzanne Foster on Battle Mountain’s state champion speech and debate teams and school plays.

“We were so lucky to have Ms. Foster, who really provided an abundance of opportunity for such a small town,” Abbott said. “I know she is leaving the high school this year, and, while they are big shoes to fill, I hope for other kids like me, someone takes on the challenge.”

Speaking of challenges, Abbott is building her chops as a standup comedian, building a reputation and following in Los Angeles.

“There’s such a music to comedy,” Abbott said. “I still want to be a serious actor, cry my eyes out and be Meryl Streep. That’s still the goal, but this comedy thing is fun, too.”

The most terrifying thing she says she can do is standup comedy.

“So, naturally, I have to do it,” she said. “The first time I went up I bombed. I might have even been dodging the hook trying to pull me offstage. It gets easier, and there’s nothing more immediate than hearing people’s laughter.”

Abbott does improvisation at The Upright Citizens Brigade, a group founded by Amy Poehler.

So far, her favorite project was an all improvised project with Ed Begley Jr. and people from “The Office” and “Reno 911!”

“It was amazing to work without a script with the best people in the comedy business,” she said.

It’s a whirlwind and a struggle, but she’s having a great time and knows where home is.

“I’ve been in LA for nine years, including USC, but I still think of Vail as home,” she said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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