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MHS grad pursues Hollywood dream
Photo Courtesy of Maia Rosenfeld - McKinney High School graduate Rae Foster, left, plays Babe in a theater production of Beth Henley's 'Crimes of the Heart' last year at Open Fist Theatre Co. in Hollywood. Foster, who's lived in Los Angeles since 2008, attended all McKinney schools growing up.
Rae Foster is a storyteller. She has told tales on stage and on screen for two decades.
But her own story is really just beginning.
"I'm kind of up for anything at the moment," said Foster, a 2004 McKinney High School grad pursuing her movie-star dreams. "You really never know, day-to-day, what kind of project might come your way, so I'm ready to work in any medium."
Foster's current project, perhaps her biggest yet, is set to open April 28 at The Blank Theatre in Hollywood. She will play a lead role in the world premiere of "Sukie and Sue: Their Story," a dark comedy by five-time Tony Award nominee Michael John LaChiusa.
"I'm really excited about it," Foster said. "I think it's going to be a big deal."
Though the play may divert from her film ambitions, Foster is confident its cast and notoriety could push her further along the star-studded path. Joining her onstage will be actress-singer Mackenzie Phillips ("American Graffiti," "One Day at a Time"), actress Lindsey Broad ("The Office," "21 Jump Street") and actor Lenny Jacobson ("Nurse Jackie").
And it's Foster who will play "Sue," one of two main characters. They will perform at The Blank, the theatre company of Noah Wyle, cast member on the popular TV series "ER" that aired on NBC for 15 years.
Based on actual events that occurred in the 1990s in New York, "Sukie and Sue" is "a story of two young nurses who have everything to live for: great boyfriends, jobs that actually help people and as much weed as they can smoke...that is until their Raggedy Ann doll becomes possessed and destroys their lives," according to The Blank.
Foster, playing one of the "pot-smoking nurses," is ready to tell yet another story.
"I've done a lot of research, and this is a very well-documented, true haunting," she said. "It's insane. It's kind of a crazy thrill ride, but I think people will like it."
Thrill rides are nothing new for Foster, who moved to Los Angeles in 2008 when she graduated from college. After growing up in McKinney schools -- Valley Creek Elementary, Dowell Middle School and McKinney High -- she earned an acting scholarship to the University of Oklahoma.
Foster did mostly plays in college, just as she had at McKinney High, but she wanted to transition her second-nature stage presence to the big screen.
"I didn't know anybody," she said of her decision to move West. "I packed up my car the minute I graduated and drove across the country."
Once there, she "made a living the way every actor probably does at some point," working three or four jobs at a time. "I'm really good at serving people dinner," she said.
Her passion and paychecks collided in 2010 when she appeared on an episode of the soap opera, "The Young and the Restless" -- as a waitress. "I went and shot that, then immediately left CBS and drove two blocks to my restaurant, put on another uniform and went to work again."
Then came a pleasant plot-turn in Foster's story. Last April, she found an acting home at Aquila Morong Studio, through which she won the role of Babe in a theater revival of Beth Henley's 1980 Pulitzer Prize-winning "Crimes of the Heart."
Performed this past winter at Open Fist Theatre Co. in Hollywood, the play attracted a management team to Foster. Steven Stanley, editor of StageSceneLA.com, applauded Foster in his online review, writing that "the gifted Texas native plays her with a subtlety and depth that make this Babe far more than just the family dumb bunny" and that "no matter where a scene's focus of attention may be, Foster remains always 'in the moment.'"
It got her story rolling in a desired direction. Foster appeared in national TV ads for Lincoln Financial and Call of Duty. She's in a Honda commercial that is also airing nationally.
And the thrill ride continues. A "yogi" (yoga student) of three years, Foster also trains 90 minutes to four hours a day in Parkour ("free running") and martial arts.
"It's actually a business decision," she said of her training repertoire. "It's something that, as an actor, I decided was really important for me to expand my physical abilities."
Auditions take up parts of her days, as do once- or twice-a-week acting classes. She's recently been rehearsing six days a week for "Sukie and Sue," and spends the rest of her time researching.
"It's easily a 60- to 80-hour work week," she said. "You basically have to be your own boss to get where you need to go, and use every single second of the day to further your work."
She said her L.A. surroundings have taught her the power of friendship and balance, and showed her that "connecting and looking past oneself" is what makes anyone a "great storyteller."
Her story is at a crucial point, one that could propel her toward the red carpet. Aside from movies, "there is no other place where you can really get an audience's undivided attention for two hours," she said.
Whichever medium she's in, Foster will likely stick to the glue that holds her storytelling together. It's what she's always done.
"It's about finding the truth in the character," she said. "Anyone who wants to effectively tell a story knows first and foremost about finding the truth, because that's what's compelling to watch."
For more information about "Sukie and Sue: Their Story," go to www.theblank.com.
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