published Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

City Beat: Local actress relishes 'Nashville' role

"Nashville," the ABC weekly drama, has been good for that city, the state of Tennessee and for at least one local actress.

Victoria Galen was cast in the role of a zookeeper and spent a full day filming the part back in September. Chances are good you can see her smiling still from wherever you are reading this.

"I had a wonderful time," she said a couple of days after the episode aired Nov. 14.

"It was like the best day," she said. "I came home and slept for 12 hours. It was like Christmas Day. My eyes were just taking in anything and everything around me."

In addition to being a working actress, Galen is the development coordinator at Room at the Inn, which provides temporary shelter and transition programs for homeless women and children. She used her experiences from that job, as well as the eight years she spent doing midday radio at WDOD-FM 96.5, in creating the zookeeper role for "Nashville."

In the scene, she had to preside over a media event at the zoo that included introducing an NFL quarterback played by Tilky Montgomery, who would later be set up with Hayden Panettiere's character in an effort to rehab her public image.

On the set, director David Petrarca realized that, to flesh out the scene, he would need someone to introduce Montgomery to the crowd.

"He asked me if I could ad-lib," Galen said. " 'Yes, I can,' I told him because making speeches like that is what I do in my job at Room at the Inn. The sound guy handed me a microphone and asked if I was comfortable with using it. I mean, I did eight years at 96.5 The Mountain, so it was perfect.

"Plus, I learned long ago that you never go to a set without being really prepared. I had Googled zookeepers and learned what they do and what their day-to-day jobs were like, so I was very comfortable.'

Galen, who was on-set for 10 hours and did almost four hours of shooting for her 18-second scene, said, in fact, the whole experience was a career highlight.

"They put me up in the Hutton Hotel. I had my own trailer and lighting guy. At lunch I looked around, and there were about 125 people just for that one day. This show adds to the commerce, and it portrays Nashville as the beautiful city that it is."

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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