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Student spotlight: Sophomore Taran Beasley carries lead role in musical

Sophomore Taran Beasley plays Carrie in the Freed Center's upcoming performance of

Sophomore Taran Beasley plays Carrie in the Freed Center's upcoming performance of "Carrie: The Musical." (Photo/Tiffany Loera)

​Taran Beasley failed to make the cut of the audition for her first musical almost a decade ago, but now she’s one of the Ohio Northern Department of Theatre Arts’ fastest rising stars. The sophomore holds the leading role in the theatre’s upcoming fall production of "Carrie: The Musical," a feat no other underclassman has accomplished in recent years.

Considerable time has passed for Beasley since she took her earliest steps onstage. She admits she is no longer the shy and timid 12-year-old who decided to take a shot at acting. However, she was still apprehensive last spring when she considered auditioning for the lead role of Carrie, a character who happened to be high on her list of dream roles.

They’ve never, as far as I know, given a title role to a freshman. So I was like, ‘There is no way I’m going to get it.’” 

Turns out, there was a way, and she found it. With a callback, quite a bit of nerves, and a little faith in herself, the then-freshman landed the part. Director of the show Christopher Pazdernik believes she earned the role for many reasons.

“She has an emotional maturity way beyond her years that not only illuminates the character of Carrie but also brings out more honesty and chemistry from her scene partners,” Pazdernik said. “Best of all though, is her friendly demeanor and unrelenting work ethic, exactly what every director dreams of having in the rehearsal room.”

The road to finding Carrie's essence was not an easy one for Beasley despite her early successes in the auditions. The young actress acknowledges she had trouble fitting into her character because of the major differences between Carrie’s personality and her own. These differences, however, relate more to Carrie’s shyness than newfound telekinesis or thirst for blood.  

It was really interesting because I’m a very extroverted person now and I’m comfortable in my body, very present in the world. And Carrie is very not,” Beasley disclosed. “Her head’s always down so it was so challenging to play this. It took me at least three weeks.”

Beasley attributes her ability to eventually find herself in her role to her professors, director, and castmates. The Freed Center for the Performing Arts will showcase the efforts of all of these individuals in the upcoming performances of "Carrie." The shows will take place Oct. 19-22 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21-22 at 2 p.m.

After these dates, Beasley realizes she must find a new dream role to take Carrie’s place at the top of her list.

“Now that I’m fortunate enough to be Carrie, I want to be Jane Eyre so bad,” she said.


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