Musical exploration: Rebecca Faulkenberry.
Rebecca Faulkenberry has had leading roles on Broadway and is next on the big screen in The Irishman, playing Al Pacino’s daughter. She has come home for the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, taking the stage with a “musical exploration” of her career, Rebecca Faulkenberry: Well Behaved Women Rarely Make it on Broadway.
Where did you get the strength to cope with the rollercoaster that accompanies an acting career?
I honestly wonder that same thing. I seem to have been born with this resilience that just doesn’t quit. I think the main thing is that I want to live a life that feels purposeful and whenever I’m creating in the arts — whether that’s as an actor or a singer, through my teaching — that feels like what I’m meant to do. It feels like the place where I can make the most impact and difference in the world.
Feel as if you’ve succeeded yet? How do you measure success?
I’ve certainly had successes in my career; however, I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’m done or I’ve reached my peak. There’s always room to improve. I have a constant desire to be better and that bleeds over into everything in my life — career, relationships, personally.
Biggest disappointment so far? How do you cope?
I could do an entire show on the disappointments I’ve experienced pursuing my dreams. Some roles are easier to lose than others.
My best coping mechanism has been not masking my disappointment when it’s a part I really wanted.
I think with everything my immediate reaction used to be “Ah well, on to the next”.
However now, when the roles I really want and have generally spent a lot of time and money preparing for don’t go my way, I acknowledge how sad it makes me and give myself a day or two to feel that. Then I move on to the next because you don’t get very far if you don’t pick yourself back up.
Best part to date?
I can’t really pick one. Getting to originate a role on Broadway and be on an original cast recording was certainly a dream for me and I crossed off that bucket list item with Groundhog Day.
Being in a film directed by Martin Scorcese with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro among many others was something I couldn’t have dreamt up if I tried, but makes me feel pretty cool.
Advice to young Bermudians interested in acting?
Performing is very difficult to pursue professionally because it does not always add up immediately that talent equals work.
As humans, we’re not used to that. We think if we’re gifted and work hard we should be rewarded. So if you love performing but are maybe not so excited about those hustle jobs you have to take to pay the bills while you wait for an audition or a job, there’s a ton of fun to be had doing community theatre and creating music and art projects with your friends.
However, if you feel that there’s no other choice for you but to create art as your job professionally — learn patience, to work without reward and to create your own work.
Last but not least, always try to be better for yourself not [for] validation from the business — because the business validation is fleeting.
All this said, I, of course, wish all Bermudian actors the unicorn job where a casting director stands behind you in Starbucks and makes you a series regular on a network TV show because, truly, in this business, anything is possible.
Who in the industry is, or was, your biggest champion? Who do you turn to for career advice?
My manager has been instrumental in my career since I moved to New York City. He’s someone who will push for me and believes in my success. Since I’ve now been auditioning for quite a few years, I also have a couple of casting directors that push for me and want me to succeed.
It feels good because that comes from doing consistently good work and auditions over the years — I earned that respect.
For career advice I read and listen to a lot of interviews with successful actors I admire. I often do that through a podcast called Off Camera with Sam Jones. He currently has 177 interviews on iTunes with actors. I listen to it on the subway, on walks; it gives perspective and motivation.
Where does your future lie — stage, TV, big screen?
Since I finished Groundhog Day on Broadway, this last year or so has really been focused on TV and film work.
I really enjoy working in that medium, especially since I’ve dedicated the last three or four years focusing on my acting work. Yes, I still go to acting class every week and voice lessons — 12 years into my career!
That said, I absolutely leave room for a musical I’m passionate about to come my way. Musical theatre will always be my first love.
What is the likelihood of you moving back to Bermuda one day?
I absolutely adore every time I come home. It’s a reset from my very busy, hectic actor life. I’ve always said my dream is to work consistently enough so that I can spend a month home at Christmas, maybe a month in the summer and then have various trips sprinkled throughout. How luxurious would that be?
Sadly, Bermuda is not a bustling hub for TV/film auditions and Broadway shows — oh how I wish! However, I love coming home and teaching. [Bermudian actor] Lana Young and I were home at Christmas and did a free coffee meet-up at Rock Island to chat to aspiring Bermudian performers. I’d love to do more of that!
• Rebecca Faulkenberry: Well Behaved Women Rarely Make it on Broadway runs tonight and tomorrow at 7.30pm at City Hall. Tickets, $80, are available at ptix.bermudafestival.org