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In 'The World Goes 'Round,' she is working with friends and returning to her roots

Photo Credit: CRAIG MITCHELLDYER/BROADWAY ROSE THEATRE COMPANY - Jennifer Goldsmith first appeared in a Broadway Rose show in 1993, and this is only her fourth show with the company as she has stayed busy performing in other metro-area theaters.Jennifer Goldsmith lives, eats and breathes theater: Her day job is working at Portland Center Stage as the associate development director, and the versatile singer/actress has built up a long resumé appearing in local productions over the decades, winning three Drammy awards in the process.

“I’m lucky in that I get to be surrounded by theater people all the time,” she said.

Next up for her is a role in the Broadway Rose Theatre Company’s production of “The World Goes ‘Round,” and Goldsmith also appeared in the Tigard theater company’s fall 2014 show, “Whodunit… The Musical.”

However, she jokes that sometimes 10 years go by between Broadway Rose appearances since her first role was in its 1993 production of “Godspell.”

“This is only my fourth Broadway Rose show,” Goldsmith said. “But I’ve always been a fan, and I’ve been to a million of their shows.”

Goldsmith grew up in Portland, graduating from Wilson High School and Portland State University with a major in communications and a minor in music. She and her sister, Angela Niederloh, didn’t stray far from their family’s musical roots as Niederloh is a renowned opera singer.

But it took a while for Goldsmith to find her way into theater. “I was a jock for a while,” she said. “I sang in church and was in plays in high school, but I was in the chorus, not the star. I took voice lessons and was in the all-state choir. In college, I started with more classical studies, but then I started leaning toward straight theater and musical theater.”

After college, Goldsmith toured nationally with the Young People’s Theatre Project, doing shows on the East Coast, in the Southwest and the Northwest.

“The shows were written to involve children in the audience and bring them up on stage to participate in recognizable stories,” Goldsmith said. “We had some amazing experiences with the kids - the shows demonstrated the transformative power of theater.”

Goldsmith also spent 5 ½ years working for the Delta Queen Steamboat Company performing on river boats as they plied their way up and down the Mississippi River.

“I would do a month on and then a month off, so I could come back home,” she said. “Every week we would do five or six different shows in the Grand Salon. And I did solo shows in the Paddlewheel Lounge, where people could see the giant paddlewheel turning through a big window behind me.

“What a cool thing to be able to sing every night. And I saw places that I never would have seen otherwise. But I’ve never lived in any other place for an extended period of time except here – my roots are here.”

Her husband Tim Goldsmith is another reason she now stays close to Portland, with Goldsmith noting, “He’s not in theater, but he totally supports me. I am very lucky.”

She added, “In ‘The World Goes ‘Round,’ there are a million life stories in these songs. I love the rich storytelling that come out. I’m putting myself in this show but hopefully staying out of the way so the audience can take what t it wants from the songs. Some are funny, and some are poignant.”

In addition to Goldsmith, the cast includes Ecaterina Lynn, Erin Charles, Joey Côté and Andrew W. Foster.

“This is an excruciatingly talented cast, and it’s thrilling to work with every one of them,” Goldsmith said. “All three of us women have played Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret,’ and at some point we have all worked in the same Portland theaters.”

Now there is no stopping her: From the teenager who didn’t want to be a star and to just blend into the chorus, she has blossomed into a leading lady with no holds barred. After her Broadway Rose show, she will appear as the title character in the upcoming Lakewood Theatre production of “Mame.”

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