Personality test: Rachelle Rak
After 25 years, seven Broadway roles and countless national and international tours, Rachelle Rak is coming home.
Through Sunday, she's appearing at the Benedum Center as Tess in the national tour of “Flashdance the Musical,” part of the PNC Broadway Across America — Pittsburgh series.
Both the show and the theater represent pivotal moments for the actress, singer and dancer,
Rak grew up in Banksville and Greentree and began her training at the age of 2 at the Rosalene Kenneth Dance Studio, which her mother owned and operated for 58 years,
“Flashdance,” the 1983 movie, ignited her dream of a stage career. She first saw the Pittsburgh-made movie when she was 14 and watched it nearly 100 times over then next couple of years.
She was 17 and a senior at Bishop Canevin High School when she successfully auditioned for a role in “Cats” while the national tour was playing at the Benedum Center. When the tour left town, she went with it as a member of the company.
Since then, Rak has appeared on Broadway in “Cats” as well as “Fosse,” “Catch Me if You Can,” “Thou Shalt Not,” “Oklahoma!,” “The Look of Love” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”
She is featured in the documentary film “Every Little Step, The Making of A Chorus Line” and has performed in national tours of “Starlight Express” and “Smokey Joe's Cafe,” as well as international tours that include “Sunset Boulevard” and “The Trip of Love.”
The star who would play me in the movie version of my life and why:
Anne Hathaway. She is well-rounded and would play every part of my life. She may need some dance lessons but she has heart.
The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:
My first little tap shoes. I was 2 1⁄2.
The superpower I wish I had in real life and why:
I wish I could turn into shapes or characters like the power the Wonder Twins had to transform like a chameleon into something else.
Childhood hero and why:
Liza Minnelli. I was 14 when I saw her do “Ring Them Bells” in Atlantic City. I thought “How does she do this?”
The first stage play or musical I saw (when and where):
My first Broadway show was “A Chorus Line” when I was 10. My first musical was a Pittsburgh CLO production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” my mother was in at Heinz Hall when I was maybe 8.
E. I hate sports
C. Steelers. Polamalu!!!
My favorite reality show:
I don't watch them. All that made up, created reality is not for me.
Favorite brunch food:
Eggs Benedict or Denny's Moons Over My Hammie
I can't live without my: iPod, cell phone, DVR or laptop?
My Twitter account (@Rachelleraksas)
Best mistake I've ever made:
Leaving a solid job to take a chance.
The last book I read:
“A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle
Top thing on my ‘Bucket List' to do before I'm gone:
Choreograph a Broadway musical
In five years, I'd like to:
Have a baby, continue to have a career and be a teacher in musical theater
A. Stephen Sondheim
B. Richard Rodgers
C. Andrew Lloyd Webber
D. John Kander
E. Stephen Schwartz
E. Andrew Lloyd Webber — he's the man who gave me my first five shows.
My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:
Roast beef, provolone and mustard on wheat bread, not toasted
My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is:
It's home. Everything about me is Pittsburgh.
Three people I'd love to have dinner with:
Tina Turner, Ann-Margret and Racquel Welch
Favorite guilty pleasure:
Oreos and milk, every night. It's like a fix.
One word my mother would use to describe me:
When I was 10, I wanted to be:
On stage. I also wanted to play basketball.
Hugh Jackman: I met him once and he was more interested in me and my life. He is the most multi-talented man of our generation and not hard on the eyes.
Exercise I hate most:
If I was auditioning for “American Idol,” my song would be:
A new take on Guns N' Roses' “Welcome to the Jungle.” To me, it's like the world of show biz.
Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark:
Saturday mornings, you'll find me:
Usually, I'm up and going to rehearsal or getting ready for a matinee.
The person I'm most often mistaken for:
Eva Mendes or Hilary Swank
In high school, I was:
Bossy, a leader, outgoing but very driven, involved.
The most famous person I ever became friends with:
Matthew Broderick and Patti Lupone
The movie that always makes me cry:
“Beaches” or “Terms of Endearment”
My most treasured fashion accessory is:
A pair of yellow platform shoes with pink toes that I bought at DSW in Pittsburgh.
Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:
“Moneyball,” because I do (watch it every time it appears on cable)
My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:
Beto's on Banksville Road.
If I could live my life as someone else, it would be:
Pink. She's got a rockstar life, is a mother and seems true to herself.
I'm deathly afraid of:
My first job:
I worked for Don Brockett as Rainbow Brite in a show at Gimbel's when I was a teenager.
My childhood nickname was:
Ragmop. I had curly big hair. My nickname now is Sas
The oldest thing in my refrigerator is:
A box of baking soda. We just had Hurricane Sandy, so we cleaned out the fridge.
My worst job:
A European tour of “West Side Story.” For seven months we spent eight to 10 hours a day on a bus traveling between one-nighters.
The best stage play or musical I've ever seen:
“Newsies”: I am a crazy “Newsies” fan.
My favorite cable channel:
The song that always gets me out on the dance floor and why:
Anything can get me on a dance floor if it has a beat.
Life would be better without:
Always having to worry where my next job is.
If I could tour with any two bands, they would be:
Beyonce or Axl Rose and Guns N' Roses
If I wasn't an actor/dancer, I'd be:
A basketball coach or a forensic scientist. I'm fascinated with DNA and science.
I never travel without my:
Marial Badescu moisturizer
People would be surprised to know that I: