Interview by Jen Bush

Lauren Rathbun will be playing the role of Breonna in the compelling new musical about to premier called A Symphony for Portland.  Right out of the gate she got her dancing feet in the door of a musical elementary school.  She is deeply committed to and proficient at many forms of the arts, especially music.  She is a published singer songwriter and when she’s done performing in this musical, she will finish writing one of her very own!  “I have many passions in the world of the arts! My first loves are theatre and music, but since moving to New York, I have had the opportunity to branch into film, tv, commercials, rhythm tap dance, songwriting, voiceover, and even drawing! I have an HBFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Utah, and went to a music elementary school growing up, called The Madeleine Choir School. To stay creative between gigs, I love to write music. I have two singles released on all music platforms, and am close to releasing a third. I am also currently writing my own musical!”

Ms. Rathbun’s creative process entails finding the voice of her character and fashioning her character in a literal sense.  “When creating a character, I like to first figure out what kind of clothes she wears and where her voice primarily resonates in my body (sinus cavity, chest, low belly). The latter is more of a mental image than actually altering my voice, but I find each region has a different energy and therefore affects the character. As for the clothes; I’ll try to wear at least one item that feels true to the character in rehearsal to help feel “in-character.” Especially shoes.”

It was a combination of the music, the composer and the fact that this was a new work that drew Ms. Rathbun to the production.  “Any time I see an audition listing for a new work, I jump at the opportunity! I was excited that this was an original musical, especially one written by a woman, and I thought the music given for the callbacks was beautiful.”

Sometimes a serious work gives an artist an added sense of responsibility when portraying the material.  Ms. Rathbun fulfills this responsibility through research.  “Yes; I feel compelled to do adequate research on the subject matters at hand to really be able to understand Breonna’s situation.”

Though covid is not over, the performing arts are back.  With safety precautions in place and a very responsible company, Ms. Rathbun feels comfortable enough to carry on.  “At this point, I am willing to assume the risk, as Covid is not leaving us anytime soon. However, I still believe it is responsible to take all precautions necessary, and I appreciate the management of this company who has provided us with covid tests to take every week, and masks for rehearsal.”

Ms. Rathbun feels that safety measures should be in place even post-covid.  Since this is so novel and still being researched, it’s a sound idea.  Better safe than sorry!  “I think requiring masks for the audience is a safe route, as well as testing the cast regularly and encouraging masks to be worn at rehearsal or when one is not on stage. I think the way forward will be ever-changing, but I am grateful we are at a point where we can at least have live theatre again!”

Aside from another single and the musical she’s writing, Ms. Rathbun is not sure what’s next.  With all of her artistic skills coupled with her enthusiasm, she likely won’t wait long for the next exciting gig to come along!  “I am always auditioning for various projects, so who knows! I am excited for the possibilities ahead.”

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