Based out of Stratford, Ontario, Lauren is an Occupational Therapist working in mental health by day and a Theatre Reviewer/TV Re-Capper by night (or by matinee). Lauren enjoys daring new productions, classic plays, and everything in between. She is particularly fond of Musical Theatre, but she also has a soft spot for Shakespeare, which she studied at the university level. In addition to her theatrical reviews, Lauren is the resident "Grey's Anatomy" Re-capper for BWW TV...At this point, she figures she may as well stick with that show 'til the bitter end! Lauren holds a BA in Psychology and an MSc. in Occupational Therapy. She is a strong advocate for the benefits the Arts have to the overall wellness and happiness of human beings. As much as she loves to perform (she is an alto sax player, and spent her youth working as a mascot), she also 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 to Broadway World Toronto and Broadway World TV.
In 1999 an original Canadian musical production based on the Bram Stoker classic, Dracula graced the stage at the Stratford Festival's Avon Theatre. On October 30th, a concert version of that same haunting and beautiful musical is returning to Stratford as part of INNERchamber's 8th season. The INNERchamber ensemble treats music fans in Stratford to a variety of events each season. Their home base is typically Factory 163, but for several reasons, this particular production will be held at Knox Presbyterian Church.BWW Recap: Classic GREY'S ANATOMY Returns in Back-to-Back Season Premiere Episodes September 29, 2017
The 14th season of GREY'S ANATOMY premiered with 2 jam-packed episodes last night. After what many would consider a lackluster season 13, it is clear that the writers are ready to tear down what they created last season and start over. Some drawn out storylines are quickly resolved, others finally have their dilemmas clearly laid out, and in one instance, some retroactive continuity helped explain away the odd and quite frankly, out of character behavior exhibited last year by one of Grey Sloan Memorial's doctors. The first of the two episodes was titled 'Break Down The House' and that is exactly what this season-opener did. After watching these first two-episodes, I can't wait to see how they continue to rebuild!BWW Review: THE BREATHING HOLE at the Stratford Festival Offers Beautiful Design and Compelling Storytelling September 23, 2017
In 1914, hundreds of British subjects of the Sikh faith were not allowed off of the boat they traveled to Canada on, and denied entry at the Vancouver harbour based on xenophobia and racist immigration policies. This story of the people aboard the Komagata Maru is an important part of Canadian history to be remembered and an important story to tell. The story is told on stage this season at the Stratford Festival in THE KOMAGATA MARU INCIDENT written by Sharon Pollock and directed by Keira Loughran. Unfortunately, the choices made in the way the story is told, cause the power of its message to not resonate nearly as much as it should be resonating at a time when it is so incredibly relevant in society.BWW Review: THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT at the Stratford Festival is Unsettlingly Exhilarating September 16, 2017
The Stratford Festival midseason openings are upon us, and first up was Director Chris Abraham's much anticipated production of Moliere's TARTUFFE at the Festival Theatre. The translation by Ranjit Bolt (with some updates to reflect current politics) finds the perfect tone and allows a French satire from 1664 to feel incredibly (almost frighteningly) relevant right now. An excellent company, led by the fantastic Tom Rooney had the audience absolutely howling. This is definitely one to see!BWW Review: THE NEW CABARET Is a Splendid Addition to 'Night Music' Series at Stratford Festival's Forum August 2, 2017
With the 2017 season of the Stratford Festival in full swing, and locals and visitors alike enjoying the glorious theatrical productions on stage at the Festival, Avon, Tom Patterson and Studio Theatres. It is important to note that there is far more than just theatre for audiences to enjoy at the Festival. 'The Forum', now in its 5th year, provides additional interactive programming of talks, panels, lunches, musical performances, and behind the scenes glimpses into the Festival's 65th season.Enjoy Some BROADWAY ON THE BEACH on August 2nd in Grand Bend August 1, 2017
The second part of a trilogy of plays penned by Kate Hennig is currently engrossing audiences at the Stratford Festival's Studio Theatre. THE VIRGIN TRIAL is a companion to 2015's THE LAST WIFE, which also had its world premiere at the Studio Theatre. This play is set during Elizabeth I's teenage years, when she was the subject of a scandal involving her relationship with her uncle/step-father. Like, THE LAST WIFE, this play takes liberties in terms of historical accuracy, because, quite frankly, we don't actually know exactly what happened behind closed doors. Also like the first play, this one is from the perspective of the women. The performances are brilliant and the writing is clever and witty. This production should not be missed!BWW Review: BAKKHAI at the Stratford Festival is Chilling and Exhilarating July 29, 2017
This season at the Stratford Festival is the final season for the Tom Patterson Theatre as it currently stands. It will be entirely rebuilt, starting this fall. The current space is going out with a bang, however, in terms of the diverse and exciting productions that can be seen on its stage this season. Each production is excellent, but the most exciting of all may well be Jillian Keiley's production of BAKKHAI. This play may not be for everyone, but if you appreciate good, exciting, and inventive theatre, and don't blush too easily at eroticism on stage, then I highly suggest you get your tickets immediately.The Stratford Festival Celebrates its 65th Season with a ROMEO AND JULIET Reunion! July 13, 2017
If you are looking for an original musical to see at the Toronto Fringe Festival, look no further than MADDIE'S KARAOKE BIRTHDAY PARTY over at the Monarch Tavern. Written by Barbara Johnston and Suzy Wilde, and Directed by Byron Laviolette, this semi-immersive musical is clever and funny, and the performances are excellent. One might think based on the title that the performers would be singing popular karaoke songs, but in fact, everything is original music (either that, or I'm just really out of the loop on what music is popular with the kids these days!) Between the bountiful balloons, packed house, and pumping music, this really does feel like a party! The story also provides a touching display of the good the bad, the uglyand the beautiful, of millennial friendships. This one shouldn't be missed!BWW Review: CONFIDENTIAL MUSICAL THEATRE PROJECT is a 'Must do' Experience at the Toronto Fringe Festival July 10, 2017
The Toronto Fringe Festival is in full swing and last night, this reviewer had the pleasure to take in a fun and touching production at the Al Green Theatre. AM I PRETTY NOW: A MUSICAL ROMP THROUGH PLASTIC SURGERY written and performed by Stephanie Herrera is described as 'the first plastic surgery musical'. It is poignant and funny, and relatable-even to those who have not gone under the knife. The best comedy comes from a place of vulnerability, and Herrerra does this beautifully with this autobiographical story.BWW Review: THE CHANGELING at the Stratford Festival is Disturbing and Exhilarating July 4, 2017
This season at the Stratford Festival has proven to be a stellar one, and Jackie Maxwell's production of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's THE CHANGELING on the Tom Patterson Theatre stage is no exception. The questionable morals and values of the characters, and the intense relationships between certain characters leave the audience feeling uncomfortable (as was likely intended by the playwrights) but the performances by the members of the company and the overall impact of the production itself, leaves the audience feeling exhilarated.BWW Review: This is No Hearsay, THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL at the Stratford Festival is a Hit! June 26, 2017
Stratford Festival's Artistic Director, Antoni Cimolino is directing one production this season and it is Richard Brinsley Sheridan's THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL. Mounted on the Avon Theatre stage, this production boasts a fabulous company and a commentary on society that is far from outdated.BWW Review: TREASURE ISLAND at the Stratford Festival is a Treasure Indeed June 11, 2017
If you are planning a family trip to Stratford, Ontario in the coming months, here's something to add to your itinerary. Schulich Children's Plays' TREASURE ISLAND-currently on stage at Stratford Festival's Avon Theatre, is filled with wonder and delight and is sure to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.BWW Review: Stratford Festival's TIMON OF ATHENS is a Powerful Cautionary Tale June 4, 2017
TIMON OF ATHENS opened at Stratford Festival's Tom Patterson Theatre on Friday night. It is probably one of the more relatable cautionary tales that Shakespeare has produced, which explains why the Festival continues to have it set in modern times. Director, Stephen Ouimette takes this production on for a second time, as he also directed it in Stratford in 2004. I did not have the opportunity to see his previous production, but this one is impressive.BWW Review: A Sublime Production of ROMEO AND JULIET is on Stage at the Stratford Festival June 2, 2017
ROMEO AND JULIET opened at the Stratford Festival on Thursday night. Director, Scott Wentworth's production takes the Festival Theatre stage by storm and is captivating from start to finish. This is the third production of ROMEO AND JULIET that this reviewer has had the privilege of seeing at the Festival, and it is without a doubt, my favourite.