Rachel grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She began piano lessons at age six and attempted her first full-length musical at age nine. She was a member of the St. Louis Children’s Choirs for four years that included several performances with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. She appeared in productions by Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the Muny Opera, and she attended the Oberlin Summer Vocal Academy. In 1999 Rachel earned a double B.A. summa cum laude in Music and Theatre from Brandeis University, where she studied composition with Pulitzer Prize winner David Rakowski and choreography with Susan Dibble. She received Brandeis’s Milender Prize for her work in music and the Carnovsky Arts Award for her work in theatre. Concurrent to her academic work, she studied voice and jazz piano with teachers at Boston University and New England Conservatory. Upon graduation, Rachel performed in, choreographed, and/or served as music director for various regional and educational theatre productions, and she also trained at Opera Lirica a Orvieto. She moved to New York on the day of the infamous 2003 blackout to receive her MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2005.