A versatile, red-haired actress and singer, Veanne Cox has been impressing NYC theater audiences since her 1986 debut as the pageant winner in the ill-fated stage musical "Smile. " The Virginia native joined the Washington Ballet Company right out of high school but left the dance world behind when she landed her first acting role as a princess in a short film. To celebrate her 21st birthday, Cox moved to Manhattan and opted to pursue an acting career. She soon landed roles in several Off-Off-Broadway productions and parts in TV commercials helped foot the bills until what should have been her break in "Smile." The 1986 musical based on the 1975 satirical movie boasted an impressive creative lineup (Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman) but the show just didn't click with audiences. The following year, though, Cox did find a vehicle suitable to showcasing her talent, the Off-Broadway revival of "Flora, the Red Menace." While some might have been daunted at taking on a role so identified with an icon (Liza Minnelli had scored in the original), Cox managed to make the part her own.