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Actress relishes coming 'home' from New York
Rebecca Teran started her career in Portland theater at Broadway Rose Theatre Company and says she feels 'lucky' to be back.
That old saying, "You can't go home again," doesn't apply to Rebecca Teran: She started her Portland theatrical career at Broadway Rose Theatre Company, and now, after nearly three years working in New York, the native Oregonian is back "home" at Broadway Rose appearing in "Fly By Night."
"I am so grateful to Broadway Rose," Teran said. "I feel lucky to be here. It's like coming home. (Co-founders Dan Murphy and Sharon Maroney) are my family. I'm their wanna-be daughter."
Teran has come a long way from Eugene, where she was born and raised, the second youngest of 12 children in a "family of singers and performers," she said.
"I was raised in an environment of music and creativity — my mother was a costume designer, designing for shows at the University of Oregon, Lane Community College and the whole community."
The Teran children were almost the Eugene version of the famous singing Von Trapp family, participating in the church choir, where Teran learned to sing.
Teran's first show was "Li'l Abner" at North Eugene High School when she was 3 years old, and because the production needed a lot of children, six of her siblings were in it, too.
"I started auditioning for professional shows and got work," Teran said. "I remember throughout my whole childhood being pulled out of school for matinee performances."
One highlight of her childhood career was performing in the musical "Annie" on the Oregon Capitol Rotunda stairs for then-Gov. Barbara Roberts.
In 2003, Teran earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in musical theater from the Shenandoah Conservatory, a private music and theater college in Virginia, courtesy of academic and talent scholarships.
"Like a lot of people my age, I made my way to New York, but I didn't last very long," Teran said. "I finally decided that I needed to grow up before living there full time."
She soon moved to Seattle "to figure out what I wanted to be and do" and later found work as an instructor, director and choreographer at the Actors Cabaret Youth Academy, a children's theater program in Eugene.
In 2007, Broadway Rose offered Teran a role in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."
"Dan and Sharon have such artistic integrity," Teran said. "They treat their relationships with their performers, staff and subscribers with the utmost care."
Of course, appearing in an occasional show in Portland didn't pay the bills, so Teran's day jobs included music, art therapy, waiting tables, bartending, working in coffee shops and being a nanny.
In fact, Teran's resume lists her skills as PR and marketing, server/bartender, clowning, stilts, hair and make-up, sewing, whistler and Aaron Neville impression.
"I did a little bit of everything," she said. "I did anything I could so I could perform as often as I could, including riding the bus to and from Tigard to work at the Broadway Rose.
Teran played Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors" for Broadway Rose and also performed in four other Broadway Rose productions, "Ripper," "I Love You Because," "Christmas on Broadway" and "Forbidden Broadway," in addition to work with other metro theater company shows.
"I had been back to New York for various other artistic projects," said Teran, who moved back to New York in January 2014. "It was the start of a new chapter. New York is very fast-paced. I have a lot of contacts and friends from both Portland and Shenandoah Conservatory who now live in New York. Some of my college friends went right to New York and stayed. They have very successful theater careers and many are now on Broadway."
Teran is one of many former Portlanders who have ended up in the New York theater community over the past two or three years.
"So now I am part of a tight-knit community of artists whom I know, love dearly and highly respect," she said. "And I am lucky enough to collaborate with them.
Teran just closed "The Marks You Leave" at the New York City International Fringe Festival, which was written and directed by Portlanders.
"I have a fierce passion for new works and a true love for the ... collaborative process of creating new material and musicals and working with those I know and love," she said.
Another show Teran was involved in bringing to the stage was "Scarlet," a musical adaptation of "The Scarlet Letter," the 1850 work of fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne about 17th century Boston.
"I love being a part of shows getting on their feet, and many people don't realize that shows have a long life before ever making it to New York," Teran said, noting that she'd also been involved in "The Waterman," another original musical produced in New York and written by former Portlanders. "I have found a great quality of life in New York, being able to create work that is meaningful and powerful to me. I have been really lucky, and I'm so excited to see what the rest of this year will bring."
Although Teran is looking forward to returning to New York, right now she is excited about performing in "Fly By Night."
"Literally everyone that I know who has seen this show says it is the best musical, and when I read that Broadway Rose was doing it, I submitted immediately," Teran said. "After a lengthy audition process, they offered me the job.
"I am so grateful to work for this company and Dan and Sharon and to be in this show. It's like being on vacation, and I get to spend time with my family and nieces and nephews."
In New York, Teran has a day job as a captain of the management staff at the Edison Ballroom in Times Square, a renovated, 1930s art-deco facility available for private events. "Broadway veterans and many famous stars come in and sing — it's awesome," she said.
"It's a flexible job that allows me to audition and to travel for work and afford to live in the city. I'm part of a team. Most of us are actors and cover for each other when we have to be gone. It's a revolving door of artists and musicians."
Teran's ultimate goal is to work full time as a stage actress and of course to be on Broadway, but she realizes that is difficult to achieve.
"I have people who come work for me at the Edison Ballroom after they finish a Broadway show to do catering," Teran said. "I'm pretty selective about what I audition for and focus my creative energy on. I have to really want it. And right now I only want to be in New York or Portland."