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Lauren Gienow - Page

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. She was also formerly the Grey's Anatomy recapper for BWW TV. 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 is very excited to share a variety of reviews, recaps and features as a contributor for Broadway World. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @whatlaurenthinx



BWW Feature:  To the Stratford Festival, with Love... PhotoBWW Feature: To the Stratford Festival, with Love...
Posted: Apr. 28, 2020

BWW Exclusive: The Niagara Symphony Orchestra and some of Canada's Top Performers Pre PhotoBWW Exclusive: The Niagara Symphony Orchestra and some of Canada's Top Performers Present WEST SIDE STORY IN CONCERT this weekend
Posted: Oct. 1, 2019

BWW Exclusive: Broadway Star and Beloved Stratford Veteran, Chilina Kennedy Talks her PhotoBWW Exclusive: Broadway Star and Beloved Stratford Veteran, Chilina Kennedy Talks her much Anticipated Return to the Stratford Festival in THE HOUSE OF MARTIN GUERRE
Posted: Oct. 27, 2019

BWW Review: Drayton Entertainment's A FEW GOOD MEN is Captivating Audiences at the St PhotoBWW Review: Drayton Entertainment's A FEW GOOD MEN is Captivating Audiences at the St. Jacob's Country Playhouse
Posted: Mar. 11, 2020

BWW Feature: To the Stratford Festival, with Love...
April 28, 2020

By now the news has gotten out that The Stratford Festival is putting its 2020 season on hold due to the social distancing guidelines brought on by this unprecedented pandemic situation. The Stratford Festival is a magical place and yesterday's announcement was tough to digest. This is not a news story about the postponement of the season. This is one BWW writer's love letter (and get-well-soon card) to the Stratford Festival.

BWW Review: Drayton Entertainment's A FEW GOOD MEN is Captivating Audiences at the St. Jacob's Country Playhouse
March 11, 2020

Drayton Entertainment's St. Jacob's Country Playhouse has kicked off their 2020 season with a memorable production of Aaron Sorkin's A FEW GOOD MEN. Despite its critical acclaim, this play is likely less familiar to most theatregoers than the classic movie it inspired. This provides an extra challenge to the company to inhabit roles made famous by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise and Demi Moore, and to make the characters their own. It takes no time at all to be fully confident that director Marti Maraden has assembled a company that has done just that.

BWW Exclusive: Broadway Star and Beloved Stratford Veteran, Chilina Kennedy Talks her much Anticipated Return to the Stratford Festival in THE HOUSE OF MARTIN GUERRE
October 27, 2019

 Broadway star Chilina Kennedy returns to Stratford for a one night only in-concert performance of Leslie Arden's acclaimed Canadian musical THE HOUSE OF MARTIN GUERRE. Stratford audiences may remember Ms. Kennedy from her much lauded lead performances in WEST SIDE STORY, EVITA, and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR to name just a few. Since then, she transferred to Broadway with the rest of the company of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, and then played over a thousand performances on Broadway as the title character in BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL. Currently, she is starring as Dina in the national tour of THE BAND'S VISIT. BWW had the chance to speak with Ms. Kennedy a few days after she concluded the Toronto run of THE BAND'S VISIT. She shared her excitement to finally return to the Stratford Festival, and her passion for THE HOUSE OF MARTIN GUERRE.

BWW Exclusive: The Niagara Symphony Orchestra and some of Canada's Top Performers Present WEST SIDE STORY IN CONCERT this weekend
October 1, 2019

Something's Cominga??To the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre! This coming weekend, audiences have the chance to experience some of the most beautiful music ever written, performed by some of the top musicians in Canada. The Niagara Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Bradley Thachuk, presents: WEST SIDE STORY IN CONCERT as part of the POPS! Series. Joining the Symphony are some big names in Canadian musical theatre: Robert Markus, fresh off his celebrated performance as Evan Hansen in Mirvish's Canadian premiere of DEAR EVAN HANSEN is performing the role of Tony. Soulpepper Theatre vet Meher Pavri is Mariaa?"a role she has played before to rave reviews at the Lower Ossington Theatre in Toronto and with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. Playing Riff, is the very talented Sayer Roberts, who starred alongside Mr. Markus last year in the Stratford Festival's THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW; Stratford, Shaw, and Broadway star Kaylee Harwood is portraying Anita, and accomplished soprano, Charlotte Knight is reprising the role of Rosalia after recently singing the part with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.

BWW Review: New Musical EVERY SILVER LINING is a Beautiful Exploration of Grief and Loss
August 28, 2019

On Sunday night, audiences in Stratford Ontario were treated to a performance of a new musical that had most recently been seen at Toronto's Fringe Festival. EVERY SILVER LINING was brought to the stage at Stratford City Hall for one night only as a way to continue to workshop it and to be a homecoming of sorts for former Stratford resident Jennifer Stewart, who directed the show and is in the ensemble. Written by book writer Laura Piccinin and Composer/Lyricist Allison Wither, EVERY SILVER LINING tells the story of young people processing death and dying. With beautiful music and dialogue that is at times both witty and profound, the show explores the complex emotions felt by a family coping with their son/brother's illness and eventual death, as well as how his teenage friends process such an unthinkable loss.

BWW Review: The Stratford Festival Production of THE CRUCIBLE is Intense and Captivating Throughout
August 25, 2019

For the first time since 1975, the Stratford Festival is putting on a production of Arthur Miller's chilling 1953 play, THE CRUCIBLE. Directed by Jonathan Goad, this production maintains a thrilling level of intensity for its entire duration, keeping audiences in the Avon Theatre utterly captivated while simultaneously squirming at the challenging situation they are seeing on stage and the frightening fact that some of the most outlandish elements of the plot are far too relatable to what is going on in politics and society today.

BWW Review: Michael Healey's New Adaptation of THE FRONT PAGE Offers More than Just Laughs for Stratford Festival Audiences
August 25, 2019

The Stratford Festival is celebrating the World Premiere of Michael Healey's adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's THE FRONT PAGE at the Festival Theatre. A beloved American satire set in 1920's Chicago, THE FRONT PAGE tells the story of journalists in a courthouse pressroom doing whatever they need to do to get their story while at the same time being the only potential failsafe against political corruption at a time when the seedy Chicago subculture was in full swing. Directed by Graham Abbey, this adaptation is updated to include more diversity among the characters. It is a knee slapping night at the theatre whilst also providing a seemingly timeless commentary about the flaws and biases of the criminal justice system.

BWW Review: The Stratford Festival's BIRDS OF A KIND is a Powerful Exploration of Identity
August 16, 2019

On Wednesday evening, a powerful and complex exploration of identity, generational trauma, and spirituality opened at the Stratford Festival's Studio Theatre. The English language premiere of Wajdi Mouawad's BIRDS OF A KIND (English Translation by Linda Gaboriau) provokes thought and emotion and is a great companion to NATHAN THE WISE, which opened at the same theatre earlier in the season and despite being very different tonally, shares many themes. Directed by Festival Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, BIRDS OF A KIND begins as a story of two almost unknowingly star crossed lovers and morphs into a tale about members of a family each struggling to honour their perceived identities and religions in their own ways.

BWW Review: WHY WE TELL THE STORY: A Celebration of African-American Musical Theatre at the Stratford Festival
August 13, 2019

As I took my seat in the lobby of Stratford's Festival Theatre on Monday night, the eager patron next to me leaned in and proclaimed a?oeThere is quite the buzz in here!a?? She was absolutely right. We had both arrived early enough to grab seats for WHY WE TELL THE STORY: A CELEBRATION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE--A much anticipated cabaret event conceived by Festival actor Marcus Nance who can currently be seen in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and BILLY ELLIOT. After initially selling out months before the Festival season even began, the high demand of this show led to more chairs being added and eventually to 'standing room only' tickets being sold so that as many people as possible could witness what indeed turned out to be a magical night of words and song.

BWW Exclusive: Powerful New Musical EVERY SILVER LINING Coming to Stratford City Hall for One Night Only
August 11, 2019

Fresh off an acclaimed run at the Toronto Fringe Festival, new musical EVERY SILVER LINING is coming to Stratford City Hall for what is sure to be a moving and memorable performance on Sunday August 25th. BWW had the opportunity to chat with Producer, Playwright, and star, Laura Piccinin about how this musical came to be, the deep and moving themes it explores, and the journey it has taken to get to this point.

BWW Review: Drayton Entertainment's Captivating Production of 12 ANGRY MEN Touts a Stellar Company and a Frighteningly Relevant Story
July 28, 2019

If you are looking for a master class in acting, look no further than Drayton Entertainment's production of 12 ANGRY MEN currently playing at the Huron Country Playhouse II in Grand Bend. Not only are the performances stellar, but there is also something equal parts thrilling and horrifying about how much this play resonates with today's audience. It is horrifying that so little has changed when it comes to the risk of the influence of prejudice and racism in the criminal justice system, but it is also thrilling that this exceptional piece of theatre still has the ability to reflect the good the bad and the ugly of the world back onto the audience in a way that challenges us to be better.

BWW REVIEW: Drayton Entertainment's ROCKY: THE MUSICAL Is the Heavyweight Champion of Grand Bend
July 26, 2019

The Italian Stallion himself is currently tearing up the stage at Drayton Entertainment's Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend. ROCKY: THE MUSICAL premiered last week and audiences appear to be loving it. Based on the classic movie, with Book by Thomas Meehan and Sylvester Stallone, Music by Stephen Flaherty and Lyrics by Lynn Ahren; this Alex Mustakas directed beast of a show is sure to be thoroughly entertaining for the entire family.

BWW Review: The Stratford Festival's NATHAN THE WISE is A Thought Provoking Exploration of Faith and Humanity
June 24, 2019

On June 15, a moving, and at times very funny production of NATHAN THE WISE opened at the Stratford Festival's Studio Theatre. Directed by Birgit Schreyer Duarte, this production of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's 1779 play is a thought-provoking exploration into humanity, the concept of "the other," and the meaning of tolerance.

BWW Review: THE NEVERENDING STORY at The Stratford Festival is a Magical Adventure for the Whole Family
June 23, 2019

This season at the Stratford Festival, a new generation of imaginative dreamers now has the opportunity to be introduced to Michael Ende's THE NEVERENDING STORY. In partnership with Canada's National Arts Centre and presented by Schulich Children's Plays, this play is the perfect out for a family looking to immerse themselves in the arts while visiting Stratford.

BWW Review: The Stratford Festival's MOTHER'S DAUGHTER Brilliantly Brings a Beloved New Trilogy to a Fine Close
June 20, 2019

MOTHER'S DAUGHTER, the third and final installment of playwright Kate Hennig's 'Queenmaker Trilogy' had its world premiere at the Stratford Festival's Studio Theatre Friday night. The play follows the reign of Mary I Queen of England and like the two previous instalments, it is reimagined (or perhaps 'restored') to be told from the perspective of the women at the centre of the story. Directed by Alan Dilworth, this production provides a fitting end to the intimate story of tradition, family, faith, imperfection and sisterhood that audiences first became immersed in 4 years ago.

BWW Review: Stratford's THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR Will Leave you with a Smile on your Face and an Ache in your side from Laughing
June 3, 2019

Opening week at the Stratford Festival came to a close on Saturday evening with director Antoni Cimolino's production of Shakespeare's THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. Reimagined to take place in the early 1950's, this production is outrageously funny, with charming and distinctive performances by all involved.

BWW Review: Two Green Thumbs Up for the Stratford Festival's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
June 1, 2019

If you are in Stratford, Ontario and are looking for a good time, look no further than this season's production of horror comedy rock musical LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. There aren't a whole lot of shows that can call themselves a horror comedy rock musical, but if you frequent these parts…or, you know, have a pulse, chances are you saw one last year too. The success of last season's THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW has sent the message that audiences get a kick out of the subversive escape that this kind of show can offer, and so, Director/Choreographer Donna Feore is serving up another delicious hit in the same vein as ROCKY HORROR (puns intended).

BWW Review: PRIVATE LIVES at the Stratford Festival Offers a Fun Night Out for Audiences
June 1, 2019

PRIVATE LIVES is one of Noel Coward's greatest works. It is timeless in its humour and with the right cast, it is a delightfully hilarious exploration of all sides of love and passion. The cast assembled in the Stratford Festival's production does justice to Coward's clever use of words and wit, all but guaranteeing the audience a fun night out at the theatre.

BWW Review: The Stratford Festival 's HENRY VIII Dazzles at the Studio Theatre
May 31, 2019

The Stratford Festival of Ontario may be known first and foremost for mounting productions of Shakespeare's plays, but there are certain plays by the bard that only seem to come around once in a while. For example, HENRY VIII, a play written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, has only been performed three other times in the history of the Stratford Festival--the last one being in 2004. This season, director Martha Henry has created a production of this play that feels relevant and exciting. Stunning performances by Jonathan Goad and Irene Poole elevate it event further.

BWW Review: BILLY ELLIOT 'Shines' at the Stratford Festival
May 30, 2019

For the past several seasons, Stratford's Festival Theatre stage has been home to classic musical theatre productions with catchy tunes that audiences might find themselves humming long after the company had taken its final bow. This season, the musical living on that stage is a little different. It is not a classic from the golden age of broadway, the music, while moving, is likely not that familiar ear worm that you will wake up singing, and the story is as gritty and high stakes as many of the Shakespearean productions we have seen on that stage in recent years. BILLY ELLIOT officially opened to a raucous standing ovation on Tuesday evening, making it clear that Stratford audiences are more than happy to branch out to something a little different.

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