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Lauren Gienow

Lauren Gienow

Based out of Stratford, Ontario, Lauren is an Occupational Therapist working in mental health by day and a BWW Contributor by night (or by matinee). Lauren enjoys daring new productions, classic plays, and everything in between. She is particularly fond of Musical Theatre but also has a soft spot for Shakespeare - which she studied at the University level. Lauren holds a BA in Psychology and an MSc. in Occupational Therapy. She is a strong advocate for the benefits the Arts have on Mental Health. As much as she loves to perform (she is an alto sax player, and spent her youth working as a mascot), she takes great pleasure in sitting back and enjoying a good performance. Lauren has been a contributor for Broadwayworld since 2012, mainly covering the works performed at the prestigious Stratford Festival. She is very excited to share a variety of reviews and features with BWW readers. 


BWW Review: The World Premiere of 1939 at the Stratford Festival is a Moving and Powerful 'Must-See' Play
September 19, 2022

If you live in Stratford, Ontario, you may have heard the buzz around town about a new play at the Stratford Festival’s Studio Theatre. Written by Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan, 1939 had its world premiere last week and audiences sprung to their feet to show just how moved they were by this beautiful, powerful, and witty piece of new work.

BWW Review: THE MISER at Stratford Festival is Rich with Laughter
September 18, 2022

Originally scheduled for the 2020 season, THE MISER, starring Colm Feore and directed by Antoni Cimolino, is currently playing at the Stratford Festival’s Festival Theatre stage. This Moliere comedy of manners fits right into current times, and this new adaptation by Ranjit Bolt is filled with pop culture references that elicit many a chuckle and belly laugh from the audience. The deliciously funny cast is in fine form and Feore appears to be having the time of his life.

BWW Feature: Friday Night Comedy at the Stratford Festival
August 31, 2022

Friday Sept. 9th marks the final 'Funny Forum Friday' - A comedy series programmed by Mark Selby, showcasing top comedy talent at the Tom Patterson Theatre's Lazaridis Hall. After a successful 4 weeks of some of the best comedians the world has to offer, the series is being closed out by the hilarious comedy sister duo, Flo & Joan, who will be coming to Stratford directly from the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. Opening for Flo & Joan is the hilarious Patrick Haye.

BWW Review: EVERY LITTLE NOOKIE at Stratford Festival has Humour and Heart
August 4, 2022

If you are a theatre-goer looking to venture outside your comfort zone, or if you often don’t feel seen or represented by the societal norms typically presented in modern theatre pieces – then Sunny Drake’s new play EVERY LITTLE NOOKIE might be exactly what you are looking for. That’s not to say that folks who don’t identify with either statement won’t also enjoy this play though. To read the production synopsis, you might expect an awkward comedy with hijinks galore, but what you will actually get (beyond it indeed being very funny), is a proudly queer play about human connection, found family, sexual awakenings, and very real and relatable struggles like co-parenting, illness and aging, and affordable housing. You will also witness delightful performances by this small yet mighty cast.

BWW Feature: An Interview with HAUI
July 29, 2022

Previews have just begun at the Stratford Festival's Studio Theatre for the World Premiere of HAMLET-911 and BroadwayWorld had the opportunity to speak with one of the creative forces behind this innovative and exciting new production. BWW chatted with HAUI over zoom about art, the exploration the abstract over a narrative, process vs product, and what audiences can expect from the projections in this new production.

Review: ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL at Stratford Festival Explores Murky Moral Territory with Passion and Delight
July 18, 2022

For the sixth time in the Stratford Festival’s history, a production of ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL is being mounted. It is fittingly being performed at the brand new Tom Patterson Theatre alongside RICHARD III. This is relevant because these were the two plays that launched the inaugural season of the Stratford Festival, 70 years ago. This current production delves into this head-scratcher of moral uncertainties with superb performances by all.

Review: LITTLE WOMEN at the Stratford Festival Brings a Classic Story to the Next Generation
July 13, 2022

A beloved story has been adapted for the stage and for the whole family at the Stratford Festival this season and it had its world premiere last Thursday night. Playwright Jordi Mand's LITTLE WOMEN--based on the novels Little Women and Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott is being brought to life on stage by Director Esther Jun and a fabulous company. Though this is part of the Schulich Children’s Plays programming, there is a kind of combined accessibility and maturity to this production that will allow it to be enjoyed by everyone.

BWW Feature: An Interview with the Six Merry Swings of CHICAGO at the Stratford Festival
July 5, 2022

Lakota Knuckle, Breanna Willis, Devin Alexander, Kyla Musselman, Christine Desjardins, and Jordan Goodridge are the Swings for CHICAGO. Their job is to know every ensemble track and be ready to go on at a moment’s notice if an ensemble member is either out, or is going on as understudy for someone else. Recently, Broadway World had the opportunity to chat with all six Swings over Zoom to learn all about what it means to be the unsung (until now) heroes of theatre and how this unique season is providing even more unique challenges and opportunities.

BWW Review: Stratford Festival's RICHARD III is a Riveting Night at the Theatre
June 9, 2022

A riveting production of Shakespeare's RICHARD III at the brand new (and gorgeous) Tom Patterson Theatre. Directed by Antoni Cimolino and starring Colm Feore, this production offers an impressive take on one of Shakespeare's greatest villains. With a skilled company and stunning design and effects, this production is certain to leave audiences talking about it long after the performers take their final bow.

BWW Review: CHICAGO Razzles and Dazzles at the Stratford Festival
June 5, 2022

Stratford Festival audiences have been waiting a while for some 'razzle dazzle' and we finally got it when, after being sidelined by the pandemic in 2020, CHICAGO had its much-anticipated opening at the Festival Theatre exactly 47 years to the day the original production opened on Broadway! This production, directed and choreographed by Donna Feore, was well worth the wait. With incredible music, innovative and ambitious design and choreography, and dazzling performances from the entire company, this show is sure to be a hit with audiences all season long.

BWW Review: HAMLET at the Stratford Festival is Fresh and Brilliant and Amaka Umeh is a Star
June 3, 2022

The audience's enthusiasm for the much anticipated Stratford Festival production of HAMLET swas palpable. The opening applause may have been for a return to the Festival Theatre, but the thunderous ovation at the end was for this fresh and brilliant production led by the luminous Amaka Umeh.

BWW Review: The Stratford Festival's FINALLY THERE'S SUN Cabaret takes Audiences on a Poignant Journey through the past 18 Months
September 19, 2021

The Stratford Festival’s production of the FINALLY THERE’S SUN Cabaret allows us to reflect on the challenges, triumphs, hope, and self discovery that accompanied the past year and a half. No two people had the exact same experience, but this cabaret manages to capture the commonalities between our experiences while also shedding light on the unique experiences that others may have had. This cabaret truly takes the audience on a journey through the good, bad, and the unimaginable while always maintaining a sense of beauty. The final numbers of the cabaret will lift your spirits and send you off into the world with a spring in your step and hope in your heart.

BWW Interview: Music Director Mark Selby Talks Ryan G. Hinds' #KANDERANDEBB at Stratford Festival
September 10, 2021

This season at the Stratford Festival, many of the events taking place as part of the Meighen Forum have gone digital, but there are still some live, in person forum events coming up and one of the most anticipated ones is right around the corner. #KanderAndEbb is a live, in-person showcase from creator and performer Ryan G. Hinds. It is advertised by the Festival as “a tour through the music of Broadway songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb, set against entertaining and touching real-life stories from the fan who managed to get semi-close to the legendary writers’ fabled world.” Broadwayworld had the opportunity to chat via zoom with Mark Selby, the Music Director and pianist of this cabaret. Having had the opportunity to perform this show with Mr. Hinds before, Mr. Selby has some inside scoop as to why this “magical” show put on by a “brilliant” showman should not be missed.

BWW Review: SERVING ELIZABETH at the Stratford Festival Offers a Fresh Take on a Familiar Story and Proves an Important Point in the Process
September 9, 2021

Director Kimberley Rampersad and a fine company bring Marcia Johnson's delightful and important story to life at the Stratford Festival. Fans of the Royal Family, fans of 'The Crown' and fans of good theatre will all enjoy this re-telling of a historical event from a perspective that has long been missing from the narrative.

BWW Review: THREE TALL WOMEN at The Stratford Festival Offers a Memorable and Introspective day at the Theatre
September 2, 2021

After over a year and a half of wanting to once again have that experience of walking out of a theatre to the chatter of other patrons commenting on a play, it is ironic that the first time Stratford Festival audiences have the opportunity to do this, they do so in an almost stunned silence after watching a powerful and devastating production of Edward Albee's THREE TALL WOMEN. The small company is stellar in this existential exploration of living, dying, and everything in between. Memories of Martha Henry's performance will linger for days after the cast takes their final bow.

BWW Review: The FREEDOM CABARET at the Stratford Festival is a Stunning and Poignant Celebration of Black Music
August 24, 2021

After a brief delay due to weather, the FREEDOM CABARET opened at the Stratford Festival on Saturday night and it had the audience captivated from start to finish. The show may not have begun until the lightning passed, but the mood under the canopy was certainly electric. This cabaret offers an exploration and celebration of Black music and its undeniable contribution to the very fabric of the music industry and to culture in general. In addition to performing, Beau Dixon is the Curator, Director, and Music Director of this superb cabaret and he has assembled some incredible talent. From the vocalists to musicians, everyone has their moment to shine. 

BWW Review: The Stratford Festival's R&J Offers a Unique and Accessible Retelling of a Well Known Tragedy
August 21, 2021

R&J, produced in collaboration with WhyNot Theatre, makes it clear that one does not need to experience theatre with all five senses in order to be moved. The audience point of entry to this production is shifted from visual to auditory, allowing for this production to be intended for blind, low vision, and sighted audiences alike.

BWW Review: I AM WILLIAM at the Stratford Festival is a Thoughtful, Funny, and Important Re-Telling of History
August 17, 2021

Every year, the Stratford Festival mounts a production geared towards young people and I was thrilled to see that despite the unique season that COVID protocols have demanded, the Festival still made this a priority. What’s more, they have made a truly interesting and fun choice in I AM WILLIAM - A play by Rébecca Déraspe and Théâtre le Clou with the english translation by Leanna Brodie. Director Esther Jun, Choreographer Alyssa Martin, Dramaturge Kamana Ntibarikure, three musicians including Music Director Njo Kong Kie, and a fabulous four person company, delight audiences with a clever, funny, and thoughtful family-friendly production that is sure to have theatre-goers of all ages engaging in meaningful conversations one minute, while singing a catchy ‘horse’ song to themselves the next.

BWW Review: The Stratford Festival's PLAY ON! Cabaret is an Exhilarating Rock Concert with the Bard
August 1, 2021

The fresh new PLAY ON! Cabaret at the Stratford Festival offers an impressive celebration of what popular music pulls from Shakespeare, what Shakespeare has to say about music, and what themes are frequently explored in both. Described as a “Shakespeare-inspired Mixtape,” this 90 minute cabaret produces diversified covers of songs by artists like Taylor Swift, Prince, and Rush while skillfully weaving in some of Shakespeare’s most celebrated words. Between the excellent music selections and arrangements, beautiful words, and tremendous performances from all four singers, The Festival Theatre Canopy has become home to a bonafide rock concert with the bard. 

BWW Review: The Stratford Festival's THE REZ SISTERS Is a Poignant Exploration of Humanity and Grief
July 30, 2021

The Tomson Highway play, THE REZ SISTERS was supposed to debut on a Stratford Festival stage in the 2020 season, but of course those plans were put on hold due to the pandemic. Over a year later, the Festival made sure to include it in its unique 2021. The show opened Wednesday night under the Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy. Directed by Jessica Carmichael, THE REZ SISTERS is the story of seven indigenous women who live on a Reserve on Manitoulin Island. Each woman has endured trauma throughout her life and the effects of those traumas are layered into their everyday lives. One of them is also dying of cancer – a fact that is rarely acknowledged by the characters but feels like a constant, thick presence in the air between them all. Bonded by a desire to experience more in life, the women set out on a quest to attend “the Biggest Bingo in the World” in Toronto. Along the way, truths are shared, realities are faced, and relationships between them continue to shift and change.