Bits 'n' Pieces: Back to being 'My Fair Lady'

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

 
photoJazmin Gorsline

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Actress Jazmin Gorsline may get a feeling of déjà vu when she returns to the area and dons the Cockney accent of Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady" in the next few weeks.

That's because this will be the third time Gorsline, who grew up in Vancouver, has been cast in the role.

"I feel pretty lucky to do it again," Gorsline said. "It's unusual to repeat a role this many times."

Gorsline, a graduate of Mountain View High School, is a professional actress in New York. She asked that The Columbian not print her age because production companies tend to have a bias toward younger actresses.

"They prefer you to be 16," Gorsline said. "Some of them actually do web searches to try to find out exactly how old you are before your audition."

Gorsline has performed in several musicals during her career, including "Oklahoma!," "Les Misérables" and "Fiddler on the Roof," mostly in productions on the East Coast. She has a Vocal Performance degree from Linfield College and a master's from Eastman School of Music.

She said she loves to work in the Portland area when she gets a chance, especially considering her mother, stepfather, father and brothers all live in Southwest Washington.

The Aug. 2-18 run of "My Fair Lady" will be her second production with the Broadway Rose Theatre Company.

"The last time was in 2008 when we did 'Le Miz,' so it's great to be back," Gorsline said.

Oddly enough, her audition for the role was in New York.

"What happens in New York is theaters from all over the country audition there," Gorsline said. "I was doing a show in Chicago, but I flew back to New York for a day for that audition."

It's a very different scene there than it is in the Portland area, she added.

"I think you have a community of actors here (in greater Portland) that really want to do good work," Gorsline said. "There are not a ton of opportunities, so everyone here feels like they're all in it together."

If any Clark County kids want to follow in her footsteps, she suggests getting involved in summer stock theater and school productions.

"I would say just get as much experience as you can," Gorsline said. "When I was here I didn't know about summer stock, but it's a huge thing and a great opportunity."

She also suggests studying the time period, literature and even other performances associated with any role you get. That's what she's done every time she's played Doolittle.

"This time, I reread 'Pygmalion' (by George Bernard Shaw), which is the play that 'My Fair Lady' is based on," Gorsline said. "Sometimes doing that can give you a hint as to what a line really means or it gives you a broader perspective on the characters."

She's also gotten help from her fellow actors during her prior stints as Eliza, she said.

"In my last production (the actor playing) Henry Higgins was actually British, so it was life imitating art," Gorsline said. "He gave me tips on correctly doing a Cockney accent."

Tickets to the production start at $30. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Deb Fennell Auditorium, 9000 S.W. Durham Road in Tigard, Ore. Visit http://www.broadwayrose.org for information.


Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.