Who says there's a long wait at the emergency room? Alumna Teresa Huang (S.B. 1997), who moved to Los Angeles six months ago to pursue a career in acting, has scored her first Hollywood job as a guest star on NBC's television series "ER."
"My first job in Hollywood was playing a doctor on my favorite show," said an excited Huang, who plays one of six new med students in the episode scheduled to air April 24.
"Everyone on the set was very impressed that I went to MIT and ended up as an actor," said Huang. "I even flashed my brass rat [class ring] at the camera during a trauma scene, so hopefully it will show up!"
While a student at MIT, Huang spent more time in the theater as a critic than an actress, writing regular reviews of student productions for The Tech. "I did a Musical Theatre Guild show my first term freshman year, but I quickly learned that theater didn't work with my MIT schedule," she said.
After graduation, however, she performed in a number of MIT theater productions which Huang said gave her an "acting foundation and the confidence in myself and my abilities to pursue [an acting] career."
"Those plays I did at MIT were my drama school," she said. "I learned so much from working with Professor Alan Brody and my fellow actors that I suddenly wished I had majored in theater instead of chemistry."
Prior to her move to L.A., Huang was a member of Theatre Espresso, an educational theater company that performs historical dramas in New England and helped develop a show for Boston's Museum of Science. She also performed regularly on KidStage at the Children's Museum and appeared in "A Chorus Line" and "Hair" at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, N.H.
"My career in Boston was going well and I was making a living, which is a rare and special thing for an actor," she said. "But one day I realized that I wanted more from my career than the Boston scene could provide."
Huang doesn't have an agent yet and realizes that she'll need to "pound the pavement for at least a year" before an agent will even look at her. "I need to be a determined and persistent businesswoman and treat my acting career as a full-time job," she says. "Acting can be a frustrating business that way."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 9, 2003.