Nashville resident Rachel Beauregard, BA Theater ’09, embodies her favorite Tina Fey mantra: “Say yes. Then figure it out later.” She said yes to Mason’s Hylton Performing Arts Center, returning to campus to perform with her country band, Native Run, in October 2016.
“The Hylton Center is a special place, and that was a special night. It was way more emotional than I thought,” she says of her performance. “To hug my old [School of Theater] professors like Kaiulani Lee, Kevin Murray, Mary Lechter, Lisa and Todd Messegee, and Rick Davis . . . I went home and cried tears of joy.” She credits these professors for making her into a true artist.
Saying yes has opened doors for the multitalented Mason alumna. As part of her Mason degree, Beauregard took classes in contemporary Irish poetry, British theater, and BBC television while studying abroad at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. Beauregard also obtained her yoga teaching license in fall 2016 because she “wants to be able to teach other musicians that are on the road and need to feel grounded in an unstable environment.” Most recently, Beauregard said yes to Nashville musician Dean Berner, whom she married in December 2016.
Native Run, Beauregard’s country music duo with bandmate Bryan Dawley, has had some huge successes, including playing the Grand Ole Opry three times, and opening for the band Alabama as well as musicians Sam Hunt, David Nail, and John Hiatt. But she has a long wish list that includes such items as playing live on TV with Jimmy Fallon.
Theater is still a draw; Beauregard hasn’t ruled out returning to the stage. In fact, many of her seminal Mason memories take place in the theater. Playing Satan in the Mason Players production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot tops the list. “[It was] one of the most compelling productions I’ve been able to do,” Beauregard says. “[It was] so challenging to play this role, and intimidating to embody the darkest spirit that’s ever existed.”
Native Run is currently in a creative phase, writing and producing new songs. Beauregard says the duo plans to start trying these tunes live in early 2017, with a record deal forthcoming.