Lauren Van Hemert

Lauren Van Hemert

Lauren Van Hemert is a graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, where she majored in Journalism with a minor in Theater. Prior to graduation, Van Hemert hosted her own weekly talk show on Public Radio WDNA Miami and worked as a production intern for As The World Turns. A native of Miami, Florida, Van Hemert’s love of theater started at an early age during a New York trip when her father took her to see the revival of 'Oklahoma,' 'The Music Man' starring Dick Van Dyke, and 'Peter Pan,' starring Sandy Duncan. She currently lives in Cary, North Carolina with her husband and two children, where she has been an advocate for arts education in the schools and sensory-friendly experiences. She is a member of The American Theatre Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram @onlylaurenart.




MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Interview: Penn Holderness Talks Viral Videos, New Musical in the Making, and Theatre Raleigh's ROCKY HORROR SHOWBWW Interview: Penn Holderness Talks Viral Videos, New Musical in the Making, and Theatre Raleigh's ROCKY HORROR SHOW
Posted: Oct. 20, 2018


BWW Interview: Elon Alum Tanner Ray Wilson is 'Head Over Heels' to be Part of Groundbreaking ShowBWW Interview: Elon Alum Tanner Ray Wilson is 'Head Over Heels' to be Part of Groundbreaking Show
Posted: Nov. 3, 2018


BWW Review: Wildly Entertaining CHOIR OF MAN Brings Joyous Romp to Durham Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: Wildly Entertaining CHOIR OF MAN Brings Joyous Romp to Durham Performing Arts Center
Posted: Oct. 30, 2018


BWW Review: The Judson Theatre Company's LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE Celebrates Sisterhood and UnityBWW Review: The Judson Theatre Company's LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE Celebrates Sisterhood and Unity
Posted: Oct. 27, 2018


BWW Interview: Fraser Walters Talks About Bringing THE TENORS' A-Game to Durham for Carolina Theatre ConcertBWW Interview: Fraser Walters Talks About Bringing THE TENORS' A-Game to Durham for Carolina Theatre Concert
Posted: Oct. 23, 2018


BWW Interview: THE CHOIR OF MAN'S  Denis Grindel Raises a Glass to Ireland, Friendship, and Manhood in Advance of DPAC ShowBWW Interview: THE CHOIR OF MAN'S Denis Grindel Raises a Glass to Ireland, Friendship, and Manhood in Advance of DPAC Show
Posted: Oct. 25, 2018


BWW Review: Playmakers' SKELETON CREW Gives Contemplative Commentary on the Decline of American Industry and Fleeting American DreamBWW Review: Playmakers' SKELETON CREW
Posted: Oct. 22, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Interview: Paige McNamara and Francesca Ferrari Step Into Rock Icon's Shoes in A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN at NORTH CAROLINA THEATREBWW Interview: Paige McNamara and Francesca Ferrari Step Into Rock Icon's Shoes in A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN at NORTH CAROLINA THEATRE
Posted: Apr. 29, 2018


BWW Review: Fans Gleek Out During LM/DC Concert at DPACBWW Review: Fans Gleek Out During LM/DC Concert at DPAC
Posted: Jul. 1, 2018


BWW Feature: Tony Award Winning Costume Designer William Ivey Long Talks New Monograph, His North Carolina Roots and Designing With Improbable FabricsBWW Feature: Tony Award Winning Costume Designer William Ivey Long Talks New Monograph, His North Carolina Roots and Designing With Improbable Fabrics
Posted: May. 11, 2018


BWW Interview: Kristin Chenoweth Talks Upcoming Carolina Concerts, 'Trial & Error' and Giving For GoodBWW Interview: Kristin Chenoweth Talks Upcoming Carolina Concerts, 'Trial & Error' and Giving For Good
Posted: Jun. 20, 2018


BWW Review: Conservatory Students Prove They Are on the Right Track in North Carolina Theatre's Production of PIPPINBWW Review: Conservatory Students Prove They Are on the Right Track in North Carolina Theatre's Production of PIPPIN
Posted: Jul. 7, 2018


BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's Funny IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU Rides on the Coattails of Standout Comedic PerformancesBWW Review: Theatre in the Park's Funny IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU Rides on the Coattails of Standout Comedic Performances
Posted: Jun. 16, 2018


BWW Review: MAKS, VAL, & PETA LIVE ON TOUR: CONFIDENTIAL Brings Love Story to Durham Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: MAKS, VAL, & PETA LIVE ON TOUR: CONFIDENTIAL Brings Love Story to Durham Performing Arts Center
Posted: Mar. 23, 2018


BWW Interview: Mike McGee And Lauren Knott of Raleigh Little Theatre's CINDERELLA Talk Holiday Tradition and the Importance of Family ProductionsBWW Interview: Mike McGee And Lauren Knott of Raleigh Little Theatre's CINDERELLA Talk Holiday Tradition and the Importance of Family Productions
November 11, 2018

Later this month, the Raleigh Little Theatre production of CINDERELLA will take the stage for the 35th time. This time, Mike McGee directs and Lauren Knott returns to the title role. Hear what the pair had to say about the changes to this year's production, carrying on a beloved holiday tradition, and the importance of family productions. CINDERELLA opens November 30th. For more information visit: https://raleighlittletheatre.org/.

BWW Review: The Barlett Theater's Site-Specific Production of THE FLICK Capitalizes on Every Multileveled Morsel of Annie Baker's Pulitzer Prize-Winning PlayBWW Review: The Barlett Theater's Site-Specific Production of THE FLICK Capitalizes on Every Multileveled Morsel of Annie Baker's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Play
November 9, 2018

At the core of Annie Baker's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, THE FLICK is the juxtaposition between celluloid and digital film projections, art and commercialism, reality and make-believe. But it's more than that. It's a character study of the everyman navigating familial workplace relationships and discerning what is real and what's fake. In the case of the Barlett Theater's production, which opened last weekend, what makes Baker's play about a single-screen theater even more credible, is the fact that it's being presented in a movie theater. Here the audience is positioned with their backs to the screen, facing the multi-leveled, cushy brown seats, where the crux of the action takes place. And it works.

BWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's ROCKY HORROR Spotlights Triangle Talent and Pays Homage to Cult ClassicBWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's ROCKY HORROR Spotlights Triangle Talent and Pays Homage to Cult Classic
November 6, 2018

Every so often an offbeat show comes along that's nonsensical and nutty. But not all those shows have the longevity or fandom of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW. The costumed crowd filling the Town of Cary's Booth Amphitheater for the limited run of Theatre Raleigh's production the weekend before Halloween was a testament to that. THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW premiered in London in 1973. After a successful run in Los Angeles in 1974, the show flopped on Broadway and closed after a mere 45 performances. Its fate as a cult-classic was sealed though when the 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' film opened in 1975.

BWW Interview: Jason Gotay Talks ALADDIN AND HIS WINTER WISH, Panto Tradition, and Returning to the North Carolina Theatre StageBWW Interview: Jason Gotay Talks ALADDIN AND HIS WINTER WISH, Panto Tradition, and Returning to the North Carolina Theatre Stage
November 5, 2018

Look at him, he's the 'King of New York! ' North Carolina Theatre audiencesmay remember New York actor Jason Gotay as Jack Kelly in the North Carolina Theatre production of NEWSIES last summer. Last month, he opened in the off-Broadway world premiere of RENASCENCE at The Transport Theatre Group. Later this month, he returns to the North Carolina Theatre stage as Aladdin in the Lythgoe Panto Production of ALADDIN AND HIS WINTER WISH. Hear what he has to say about playing Jack Kelly, taking on the role of Aladdin in a new story about everyone's favorite street-rat, and the importance of introducing kids to the theater.

BWW Interview: Elon Alum Tanner Ray Wilson is 'Head Over Heels' to be Part of Groundbreaking ShowBWW Interview: Elon Alum Tanner Ray Wilson is 'Head Over Heels' to be Part of Groundbreaking Show
November 3, 2018

For HEAD OVER HEELS' Tanner Ray Wilson, performing on a Broadway stage eight times a week is a far cry from his hometown of Jonesboro, Arkansas. 'My dad is a football coach and a basketball coach and a hunter, like outdoorsman extraordinaire,' he says. 'And he was cool enough for some reason to let his boy go take a dance class.' That one class gave Wilson the confidence to pursue more classes and connect with other teachers, who he says not only helped him grow as an artist but also opened doors for him.

BWW Review: NRACT'S NEXT TO NORMAL Tackles Difficult Subject Matter with DignityBWW Review: NRACT'S NEXT TO NORMAL Tackles Difficult Subject Matter with Dignity
October 31, 2018

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately one in five adults, 43.8 million people, in the United States lives with a mental illness. As a person who has lived with family members suffering from mental illness, I know how a diagnosis of anxiety, or any mood disorder for that matter, can cast a wide net and impact everyone. I've experienced the heartache of watching a loved one suffer in silence and the helpless desperation of struggling to find the right words, the right cure, or any panacea that might help ease their pain. That's why the North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre's (NRACT) production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning show NEXT TO NORMAL hit so close to home for me. It's an unrelenting probe into mental illness through the lens of what appears to be an ordinary, suburban family.

BWW Review: Wildly Entertaining CHOIR OF MAN Brings Joyous Romp to Durham Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: Wildly Entertaining CHOIR OF MAN Brings Joyous Romp to Durham Performing Arts Center
October 30, 2018

They say the show must go on. Such was the case Saturday night when THE CHOIR OF MAN'S truck broke down and showed up in Durham at 7:10 p.m. for an 8:00 p.m. show. Nevertheless, the cast handled the mishap in true CHOIR OF MAN style, greeting the audience in the lobby while the set was being loaded in, taking selfies, and warming up the crowd. Once the doors to the seating area opened, the cast invited audience members up on stage for a pint and a bit of conversation. Clearly, there is no fourth wall among friends, but do all these pre-show theatrics make for a good show? You bet.

BWW Review: The Judson Theatre Company's LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE Celebrates Sisterhood and UnityBWW Review: The Judson Theatre Company's LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE Celebrates Sisterhood and Unity
October 27, 2018

LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron explores the complex relationships women have with their shoes, purses, bras, weight, Madonna, their sisters, and their mothers. Based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, the play opened off-Broadway at the Westside Theater in 2009 after a limited run of staged readings to benefit Dress for Success. It closed The Judson Theatre Company's seventh season last week. The parade of well-known actresses who've performed in LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE reads like a who's who and includes Jane Lynch, Carol Kane, Brooke Shields, Rosie O'Donnell, Tyne Daly, Samantha Bee, Parker Posey, and Kristin Wiig. The Judson Theatre's cast too featured some well-known names, including two-time Emmy Award-winner Sally Struthers, who previously starred in the show at The Geffen Playhouse, Kim Coles, who is best known for her role on 'Living Single,' and stage veteran Joyce Reehling. Rounding out the cast were newcomers Ashley Brooke and Olivia Rose Barresi.

BWW Interview: THE CHOIR OF MAN'S  Denis Grindel Raises a Glass to Ireland, Friendship, and Manhood in Advance of DPAC ShowBWW Interview: THE CHOIR OF MAN'S Denis Grindel Raises a Glass to Ireland, Friendship, and Manhood in Advance of DPAC Show
October 25, 2018

Denis Grindel says he's always been a performer. After all, he's Irish. It's in his blood. 'I love telling stories,' says Grindel. 'It's a big part of my culture.' 'You grow up hearing stories and legends and song, it's a big part of what being Irish is,' he adds. 'So, it was a natural for me to have a life on the stage.' These days Grindel is traveling around the United States as the narrator with the British import THE CHOIR OF MAN. The show, which is the brainchild of Andrew Kay and Nic Doodson, the creators of GOBSMACKED!, premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland a year and a half ago and has been touring around Europe and Australia ever since. This weekend the group plays the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC).

BWW Review: Sentimentality and Show-Stopping Performances Make Temple Theatre's GHOST Worth the TripBWW Review: Sentimentality and Show-Stopping Performances Make Temple Theatre's GHOST Worth the Trip
October 24, 2018

In the summer of 1990, the genre-bending, sleeper movie 'Ghost' opened. It became the highest grossing film that year.

BWW Interview: Fraser Walters Talks About Bringing THE TENORS' A-Game to Durham for Carolina Theatre ConcertBWW Interview: Fraser Walters Talks About Bringing THE TENORS' A-Game to Durham for Carolina Theatre Concert
October 23, 2018

Fresh off their fourth PBS special which aired in August, the multi-platinum group The Tenors kicked off their Fan Favorites Tour two weeks ago in Canada. This week, they bring their eclectic mix of classical and contemporary music to The Carolina Theatre in Durham. 'There are so many voices external and internal that can stop us from reaching our full potential, and I think the beautiful thing about being on the road is that we are creating an environment that is encouraging for that creative output,' says Fraser Walters, one-third of the band. And Walters is no stranger to being on the road. In fact, he began performing and traveling at the age of eight, first in musical theater and then in operas with such companies as The Edmonton Opera and Seattle Opera. 'I was lucky that my family was quite supportive,' he says. 'You know it really sort of took a community of people to be understanding of a different way to do things.' By 16, he was offered a scholarship to go to school, study theater and play sports in Australia. It was at that time that he landed the role of Jesus in a production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. 'That was such a formative and transformative experience, and it just all turned my world even more so to music being exactly what I wanted to do for the long term.' Twelve years ago, Walters joined The Tenors, along with Victor Micallef. Two years later, Clifton Murray joined the group. Since then, the trio has performed all over the world, including at The White House for the last four Presidents, at Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and during the opening ceremonies of the XXI Olympic Games. And Fraser says it's the weight of their collective life experiences, along with a lot of sacrifices and hard work, that has earned them a stamp of approval from audiences worldwide.

BWW Review: Playmakers' SKELETON CREW Gives Contemplative Commentary on the Decline of American Industry and Fleeting American DreamBWW Review: Playmakers' SKELETON CREW Gives Contemplative Commentary on the Decline of American Industry and Fleeting American Dream
October 22, 2018

A 'Forbes' headline from last week read: "Ford Prepares for Mass Layoffs After Losing $1 Billion to Trump's Trade Tariffs, Report Says." In fact, Ford is planning to restructure its company to the tune of $25.5 billion, which could cost as many as 24,000 people their jobs. Seemingly ripped from the headlines, Dominique Morisseau's play SKELETON CREW, which opened at PlayMakers earlier this month, is set in a Detroit auto plant on the verge of shutting down amidst the recession in 2008. Already having lost half its crew, the plant is struggling to keep operations afloat. Morisseau examines the plight of four workers and their intertwined relationships.

BWW Interview: Penn Holderness Talks Viral Videos, New Musical in the Making, and Theatre Raleigh's ROCKY HORROR SHOWBWW Interview: Penn Holderness Talks Viral Videos, New Musical in the Making, and Theatre Raleigh's ROCKY HORROR SHOW
October 20, 2018

After 18 years in the news business, Penn Holderness took a leap of faith and jumped into starting his own video production company. As a natural born storyteller, he wanted to tell stories that were not only interesting but relatable. So in 2013, he and his family posted their 'Xmas Jammies'video on YouTube. Since then, that video has been viewed over 17 million times, and he's gone on to produce almost 100 more videos featuring his wife Kim and two children, Penn Charles and Lola. Next week, Holderness steps out of his comfort zone once again to take the stage in Theatre Raleigh's production of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW. Hear what he has to say about his family, creating original music, and becoming Riff Raff.

BWW Review: Burning Coal's Well-Timed Historical Drama STUFF HAPPENS is the Right Play for Right NowBWW Review: Burning Coal's Well-Timed Historical Drama STUFF HAPPENS is the Right Play for Right Now
October 16, 2018

On April 11, 2003, just two days after the fall of Saddam Hussein, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, along with General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the media. When asked about the looting and the lack of law and order following the 'liberation' of Iraq, Rumsfeld said: 'Think what's happened in our cities when we've had riots and problems and looting. Stuff happens! Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things, and that's what's going to happen here.' The backroom deals and politics leading up to the invasion of Iraq are the subject of David Hare's historical drama STUFF HAPPENS. The play premiered in London in 2004. Two years later, it opened off-Broadway to critical acclaim. Last weekend, Burning Coal Theatre opened their season with Hare's play, which by his own account, is a fictional dramatization based on interviews, televised speeches, and transcripts.

BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's IT IS DONE Serves Up Spooky Tale Along With Fine PerformancesBWW Review: Theatre in the Park's IT IS DONE Serves Up Spooky Tale Along With Fine Performances
October 15, 2018

A storm is brewing over Theatre in the Park (TIP), a storm of such magnitude that it brings three strangers together in a honky-tonk bar in the middle of nowhere. The barkeep in this gin joint is Hank. He doesn't see too much traffic (except in September), which makes this random Tuesday unusual. That is the premise of Alex Goldberg's macabre play IT IS DONE, which makes its regional premiere at TIP this month. The playpremiered in 2011 and was billed as one of the topLos Angeles Theatre Productions of 2012 by Brad Schreiber of 'The Huffington Post.'

BWW Interview: Temple Theatre's Cast and Director of GHOST Talk Love, Character Relationships, and the Challenges of Bringing a Beloved Movie to the StageBWW Interview: Temple Theatre's Cast and Director of GHOST Talk Love, Character Relationships, and the Challenges of Bringing a Beloved Movie to the Stage
October 11, 2018

The movie 'Ghost' opened in the summer of 1990. Twenty years later, it inspired a Broadway musical. While the movie was the highest grossing film of 1990, the Broadway version, which featured a large cast and a multitude of special effects, did not share the same box office success. 'On the Broadway stage they brought in a nationally known illusionist, who builds tricks for magicians all over the world, and it didn't really work,' says Bill Saunders, director of The Temple Theatre's production. 'It was such a huge show,' he says. 'It was 35 people in a show about four people, so we lost the heart and the soul of the musical.' After the show closed and went on tour, the creative team, along with The Fulton Theatre, reworked the show into a smaller-scale, chamber version that would be closer to the movie. The reimagined version premiered at the Fulton Theatre in 2016. Next week, the showopens at the Temple Theatre in Sanford. Hear more of what Saunders and the cast had to say about bringing this beloved movie to the stage.

BWW Review: No-Holds-Barred, RANDY RAINBOW Takes Down Trump and Friends One Parody at a Time in DurhamBWW Review: No-Holds-Barred, RANDY RAINBOW Takes Down Trump and Friends One Parody at a Time in Durham
October 4, 2018

At the Carolina Theatre in Durham Sunday night, Randy Rainbow got a standing ovation before he even sang one note. In fact, one woman in the audience stood up and called him a national treasure, a beacon of frivolity amidst precarious times. Rainbow's show was interlaced with clips of his viral videos, stories, and live performances of his most popular parodies, including 'Desperate Cheeto,' 'Yes! We Have No Steve Bannon!,' 'Alternative Facts,' and 'Rudy and the Beast.' Rainbow credits his grandmother with 'planting the comedy seed.' He told the audience during the question/answer period that she was hilarious and both she and his mother encouraged him to always be himself. And it seems to be working for him. His last video, 'Kavanaugh' (to the show tune 'Camelot') has almost 400-thousand views and counting.

BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's Timely REVOLUTIONISTS Feels Like the Right Story for Right NowBWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's Timely REVOLUTIONISTS Feels Like the Right Story for Right Now
October 1, 2018

Last weekend, Lauren Gunderson's THE REVOLUTIONISTS opened at Raleigh Little Theatre, proving once again that women and feminists can be very funny. THE REVOLUTIONISTS tells the story of four women during the French Revolution: Marie Antoinette, an 'occasionally, unexpectedly profound queen who needs better press," Olympe de Gouges, the feminist playwright who published her "Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the [Female] Citizen" in 1791, Charlotte Corday, 'an assassin on a deadline,' and Marianne Angelle, a Caribbean slave who has come to France to rally for her people's freedom. Under the direction of Amy White, the capable cast of four women seem more comfortable with the quick-witted, comedic elements of Gunderson's smart script than the dramatic ones that mark the second act. Still, in the last moments of the play, the quartet come together in a display of sisterhood, solidarity, and strength, which is at the heart of this play, that is ultimately believable and poignant.

BWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's ONCE is Simply GrandBWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's ONCE is Simply Grand
September 10, 2018

From the outset, it is clear, that Theatre Raleigh's production of ONCE is not going to be a typical theatrical experience, but a completely immersive one. Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, ONCE is a story about a Guy and a Girl who come together through their love of music. From the get-go, a band of players greets the audience with music and merriment, transporting the occupants of The Kennedy Theatre from Downtown Raleigh to smack dab in the middle of Dublin's North Strand. And that talented band of players it turns out makes up the brilliant ensemble cast, led by Jack Boice, Megan Ort, and Tracy Thomas. They sing, dance, act, and play multiple instruments, as do the two leads, played by David Toole and Morgan Parpan.

BWW Interview: Dave Toole And Morgan Parpan of Theatre Raleigh's ONCE Talk About Dialects, Making Music, and What's NextBWW Interview: Dave Toole And Morgan Parpan of Theatre Raleigh's ONCE Talk About Dialects, Making Music, and What's Next
August 31, 2018

Theatre Raleigh closes its Summer Season with the Tony Award-winning musical ONCE. Based on the 2007 film of the same name, ONCE tells the story of a Guy and a Girl who are brought together through their love of music. Dave Toole and Morgan Parpan play Guy and Girl in this production and sat down with me to talk about mastering dialects, playing musical instruments on stage, and what's next for Theatre Raleigh. ONCE runs from September 5 - 16 at The Kennedy Theatre at The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.



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