BWW Interviews: Cori Laemmel Takes On The Friday Five Before Going Onstage For THE LAST FIVE YEARS

May 18
10:27 AM 2012


Inspired by's Friday Six, welcome to's latest installment of The Friday Five: five questions designed to help you learn more about the talented people you'll find on stages in the Volunteer State.

Today's spotlight falls upon Cori Laemmel, who opens tonight in the reboot of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years opposite her real-life husband Tyson Laemmel (following the critically acclaimed version that starred Ryan Greenawalt and Kacie Phillips for the first two weeks of the run) at Street Theatre Company.

When she's not onstage at Street Theatre Company-or Tennessee Rep or Nashville Children's Theatre or Circle Players or basically every other stage in town-she runs her own training program for younger actors called The Theater Bug. And just so's you know: Cori Laemmel may well be the successor to what we're calling "The Layne Sasser Crown": Everybody loves her, audiences adore her and you're unlikely to hear one ill word spoken about her. So get yourself to 1933 Elm Hill Pike the next two weekends and catch her in The Last Five Years.

In the meantime, you can find out more about her so that when you sign up to be a member of The Cori Laemmel Fan Club you can impress the powers-that-be with your infinite knowledge…

What was your first "live onstage" taste of theater? I believe it was when I was six during a production called Kids on Broadway where we did a cabaret style show of Broadway music. I sang in a trio of "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile." Poor Cori struggled with choreography even then.  I actually have the video and everything! I'm the third one onstage!

See for yourself:

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? I think there is something very sacred about the girl's dressing room. Something about connecting in with your show ladies about the crazy backstage antics, or that line that keeps tripping you up, or whatever personal drama has gone on that day before showtime makes me feel like I am really a part of something. 

What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? A few years ago I was asked to step in for an actress in a Street Theatre fundraiser last minute. I had learned this entire show, music, choreography, everything in a day. I was playing opposite Shane Bridges who is notorious in these types of shows to learn the gist of the show and put his Shane spin on the rest. It is always hilarious, but given the circumstances I told him that I didn't know the show well enough to keep up. It was one of those "I know my line and my cue and that is it" kind of situations. So I am doing pretty well and we get to this scene where he calls me a snitch, and I tell him I am not a snitch, and he says, "Well if it wasn't you, who was it?" And I respond, "I don't know, maybe Charlie Chaplin." So we get to the point where I tell him I am not the snitch, and then he goes into a three minute tangent that has the entire audience rolling and me in complete panic. By the end of it he just stood there and stared at me and all I could say was, "I don't know, maybe Charlie Chaplin." It was the best laugh I have ever had on stage. We finally composed ourselves and moved on. I somehow got through the rest of the show on a prayer. It was a blast though.

What's your dream role? For a long time it was Cathy in The Last Five Years, but the casting gods have smiled upon me and I get to play her this spring opposite my hubby, which is pretty much the best thing ever. I guess it's time to find a new one now!

Who's your theatrical crush? Melodie Madden Adams

Nashville THEATER

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About the Author

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors - the history of which can be traced to 1989 and the first presentation of The First Night Awards - which honor outstanding theater artisans from Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and also includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors recognition. Midwinter's First Night honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. An accomplished director, Ellis helmed productions of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, all in their Nashville premieres, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show. Ellis was recognized by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.


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