PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Broadway star who got her start right here in the Portland area is returning to her home town for a special performance.
Shoshana Bean will take a night off from her starring role in “Waitress” this month to show her appreciation for her alma mater: Beaverton High School.
Bean has appeared in productions like “Hairspray,” “Wicked” and, most recently, “Waitress.”
According to IMDb.com, the singer once played the role of Elphaba for Idina Menzel during Menzel’s final performance of “Wicked” in 2005.
Bean has credited Beaverton High School for helping spark the flame that ignited to her wildly successful career in performing arts.
“My education through school and outside of school laid the foundation for the career I ended up pursuing, what has become my life’s work,” Bean said. “I credit the education I received in Beaverton.”
And now, Bean wants to ensure other generations have access to the same opportunities and education she did.
“Theater is really important to me because it allows me to express myself in ways that I can’t in other places,” said Beaverton High School sophomore Olivia Buist-Thuillier.
Bean said theater arts programs across the U.S. are underfunded and threatened by cuts so she decided to help her alma mater keep its own theater program afloat through one big fundraiser.
“I thought it would be a really cool way to raise money for the school that raised me,” Bean said.
Beaverton High School drama teacher Shannon Dery told KOIN 6 News he gets a yearly budget of $500 for all of his classes. Most of that money is used to obtain rights for plays from big companies like Disney.
To help with those costs and also raise money for student scholarships, Bean is hosting the “Shoshana Bean and Friends” concert on April 25. She’ll perform alongside other artists like Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini and pianist Michael Allen Harrison.
Students handpicked by Bean will also star in the show. Hannah Edwards, a sophomore at Beaverton High School, will sing alongside Bean.
“I got the opportunity and I took it,” Hannah said. “I wasn’t expecting to get called, but I did — and I’m very, very happy about it.”
This will mark the second year in a row that Bean has held a concert to benefit Beaverton high. She said the 2018 concert raised $23,000.
It was a show that those who attended won’t soon forget. Cole Taylor, a junior at the school, said he was “blown away” by the performance.
This year, Bean and the concert’s organizers hope to raise $30,000.
The show will start at 7:30 p.m. on April 25 at Beaverton High School. Click here for tickets and more information.
If you want to support BHS performing arts but can’t attend the concert, you can donate to the department via this GoFundMe page.