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. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram @onlylaurenart.




MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

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
Posted: Aug. 31, 2018


BWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's ONCE is Simply GrandBWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's ONCE is Simply Grand
Posted: Sep. 10, 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 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 Review: NORTH CAROLINA THEATRE'S A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN Rocks the Fletcher Opera TheaterBWW Review: NORTH CAROLINA THEATRE'S A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN Rocks the Fletcher Opera Theater
Posted: May. 5, 2018


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.

BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's IT'S ONLY A PLAY Has Makings of a Good Show, but...BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's IT'S ONLY A PLAY Has Makings of a Good Show, but...
August 16, 2018

There's an irony about sitting in a theater on opening night reviewing a play about a play and the sometimes-tempestuous relationship between the players and the critics. But that's exactly what Terrence McNally's IT'S ONLY A PLAY is about, a group of theater people waiting for the reviews of their play after the opening night performance. Last week, the show opened at Theatre in the Park (TIP) in Raleigh to mixed reviews. All the makings of a good show are there. The ensemble features some of the Triangle's most exceptional comedic performers including Ira David Wood IV, Brian Westbrook, Rob Jenkins, and Lynda Clark. In addition, the production is directed by the ever so talented Jesse R. Gephart. And the set is simply spectacular. But not even this talented cast and crew can save McNally's script, which feels more like a diatribe than a farce. Yes, there are funny moments, but they are few and far between and more reliant on the physical comedy of the competent cast than McNally's pen.

BWW Review: Intense and Fiery Performance Makes Theatre Raleigh's MASTER CLASS RivetingBWW Review: Intense and Fiery Performance Makes Theatre Raleigh's MASTER CLASS Riveting
August 11, 2018

With the fiery intensity of a tigress, Judy McLane channels opera diva Maria Callas in Theatre Raleigh's production of Terrence McNally's MASTER CLASS. The Tony Award-winning MASTER CLASS opened on Broadway in 1995. The play is inspired by the master classes Callas taught at Julliard in 1971 and 1972. McLane is masterful as the temperamental Callas, moving across the stage like a woman possessed, regaling the audience with stories, never 'missing an opportunity to theatricalize,' criticize, and dramatize.

BWW Review: Irreverent THE BOOK OF MORMON Still Big on Laughs, Slight in Shock ValueBWW Review: Irreverent THE BOOK OF MORMON Still Big on Laughs, Slight in Shock Value
August 9, 2018

When THE BOOK OF MORMON opened on Broadway in 2011, it was called blasphemous, crude, raunchy, and genius. The brainchild of the creators of adult animated series "South Park," THE BOOK OF MORMON won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. This week it plays at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) for the second time. Having now celebrated its seventh year on Broadway and two national tours, it's hard to tell whether THE BOOK OF MORMON has lost some of its shock value or if audiences are just more desensitized to it; nevertheless, it's still ridiculously funny and wildly entertaining. THE BOOK OF MORMON is about two Mormon missionaries, who are sent to Uganda to spread the word of God. Knowing nothing about Africa, other than THE LION KING, they are totally unprepared for the harsh realities of this primitive village. But with the 'good book' in hand, they are determined to win over the villagers and maybe find themselves in the process.

BWW Review: Kristin Chenoweth Returns to the Stage in Boone After a Six-Week Hiatus and Lights Up the Schaefer Center for the Performing ArtsBWW Review: Kristin Chenoweth Returns to the Stage in Boone After a Six-Week Hiatus and Lights Up the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts
August 7, 2018

Kristin Chenoweth kicked off the next leg of her tour in Boone after a six-week hiatus last weekend. She lit up The Schaeffer Center as part of the Appalachian Summer Festival. The concert was a homecoming of sorts for Chenoweth's ever-talented musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell who is from Wilson and graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts. Chenoweth opened her concert with a selection of songs from The American Songbook, showcasing her soaring soprano voice and effervescent personality. She even channelled her character from the NBC series 'Trial and Error,' singing 'Bird in a Gilded Cage' first as Lavinia and then as herself, in true Chenoweth style. She recorded this part of the concert on her assistant's cell phone, which she posted on YouTube. For the next set, Chenoweth transitioned to singing Broadway show tunes including a most poignant and moving rendition of 'Bring Him Home' from LES MISERABLES, as well fan favorite, 'Popular' from WICKED. To end the show, she sang an eclectic mix of Don Henley, Dolly Parton, and Christian music singer Sandi Patty's 'Upon This Rock,' for which she was joined by a group of local students. The students also joined her in singing Campbell's inspirational ballad, 'Reasons for Hope.'

BWW Interview: From Dancing Queen to Opera Diva, Judy McLane Opens Up About MAMMA MIA, Maria Callas, and Theatre Raleigh's MASTER CLASSBWW Interview: From Dancing Queen to Opera Diva, Judy McLane Opens Up About MAMMA MIA, Maria Callas, and Theatre Raleigh's MASTER CLASS
August 5, 2018

This week, Judy McLane steps into Maria Callas' shoes for the opening of the Theatre Raleigh production 'Master Class.' 'Master Class' is about operasinger Maria Callas as she teaches a fictional master class at Julliard towards the end of her life. Written by Terrence McNally, the play opened on Broadway in 1995 and won two Tony Awards. McLane, who is best known for her work in the Broadway production of 'Mamma Mia,' trained as a classical singer and says sheis no stranger to Callas' work. She sat down with me to talk about Maria Callas, 'Mamma Mia' and more.

BWW Interview: 'New York Times' Bestselling Author Kate Moore Talks 'The Radium Girls,' THESE SHINING LIVES, and Radioactive LegacyBWW Interview: 'New York Times' Bestselling Author Kate Moore Talks 'The Radium Girls,' THESE SHINING LIVES, and Radioactive Legacy
July 26, 2018

It is hard to believe that decades before Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania or the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, there were thousands of young women, many of them teenagers, who were exposed to radium in dial factories in the United States and around the world. Many of these women suffered untimely deaths from painting the dials of luminous watches, using their lips to bring their paint brushes to a point. The Radium Girls, as they became known, are the subject of THESE SHINING LIVES, which opens this weekend at The ArtCenter of Carrboro as part of The Women's Theatre Festival. 'To me, the story of The Radium Girls has a lot of similarity to the 'Me Too' movement,' says Director Jorie Slodki. 'This is a story about women whose bodies were considered expendable at work, and their bodies were harmed at work, and when they tried to get help, especially getting help from men, the men either lied to them about the nature of the problem, they told them that it wasn't a big deal, or they accused the women of causing the problem themselves.'

BWW Interview: Ramin Karimloo Reflects on The Avett Brothers, His Friendship with Joe Kwon, and Working with Andrew Lloyd Webber in Advance of His Raleigh Benefit ConcertBWW Interview: Ramin Karimloo Reflects on The Avett Brothers, His Friendship with Joe Kwon, and Working with Andrew Lloyd Webber in Advance of His Raleigh Benefit Concert
July 24, 2018

t might surprise theater fans that Tony-nominated Ramin Karimloo's playlist includes an eclectic mix of Colm Wilkinson, the alt-rock band The Tragically Hip, and North Carolina's own, The Avett Brothers. But Karimloo says for him there is a common thread that ties his favorite genres of music altogether. 'I just love to tell stories where words are not enough to just say, where the emotion is too strong, and you have to sing,' he says. 'I think with songs from theatre, bluegrass, etcetera, there's a lot of emotion in the story.' 'That's why in my shows the gap between these genres are not as far apart as it seems on paper,' he adds. 'I'm grateful that I get a chance to crossover and sing such an eclectic mix.' And it's that eclectic mix that audiences can expect to hear when Karimloo joins The Avett Brothers' cellist Joe Kwon for a concert benefitting The Frankie Lemmon School and Development Center next month.

BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's INTO THE WOODS Turns Spotlight on Talented TeensBWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's INTO THE WOODS Turns Spotlight on Talented Teens
July 20, 2018

Any Stephen Sondheim musical is a lofty feat for even the most seasoned of performers. Sondheim's music is notable for its quick syncopated rhythms, timing and nuance, which is one reason Raleigh Little Theatre's Teens on Stage production of INTO THE WOODS is such an achievement. INTO THE WOODS tells the story of a childless baker and his wife who look to reverse their family curse by venturing into a mythical wood full of familiar fairytale creatures, including Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella. The Tony-Award winning musical opened on Broadway in 1987 and inspired the 2014 Disney film of the same name. Like the stage musical and film, Act I, reimagines beloved fairytales right up to the point of happily ever after, with Act II taking a grim look at what comes after. And it is in Act II that the Teens on Kids ensemble really shine with their renditions of 'Moments in the Woods,' 'No More,' 'No One is Alone,' and the finale.

BWW Interview: Women's Theatre Festival's ECLIPSED Director Michele Okoh Looks Forward to Durham Regional PremiereBWW Interview: Women's Theatre Festival's ECLIPSED Director Michele Okoh Looks Forward to Durham Regional Premiere
July 18, 2018

Before Danai Gurira exploded on the big screen earlier this year as Okoye in the movie BLACK PANTHER, she made history with her play ECLIPSED. The play opened on Broadway in 2016, marking the first time a Broadway play featured an all-female, all-black cast, director, and playwright. ECLIPSED will make its regional premiere next month as part of The Women's Theatre Festival. ECLIPSED is about five women who are struggling to survive the second Liberian Civil War. Four of the women are the forced wives of the Commanding Officer and one is a peace worker. 'One of the things that really struck me about this play and looking at the second Liberian Civil War was that it was the work of women that led to the end of the conflict,' says Michele Okoh, director of the Women's Theatre Festival's production. 'Yes, these women are in a position where they are being subjugated and where they are struggling for survival, but that's a temporary condition, and they will be able to shine.'

BWW Review: Women's Theatre Festival's GOBLIN MARKET Makes for a Visual FeastBWW Review: Women's Theatre Festival's GOBLIN MARKET Makes for a Visual Feast
July 15, 2018

Long before Disney introduced the world to Anna and Elsa, Christina Rosetti penned GOBLIN MARKET, a fairytale narrative poem about the power of sisterly love. In Rosetti's poem, two sisters, Lizzie and Laura, triumphantly overcome the temptation of goblin men in a haunted wood. Rosetti's piece has long been the subject of much interpretation and creative adaptations, including a musical version, which premiered at New York's Circle in the Square Theatre Downtown in 1986. This weekend. GOBLIN MARKET opened at Burning Coal Theatre as part of The Women's Theatre Festival. Fusing together classical elements of both ballet and opera, GOBLIN MARKET is a visual feast, from Miyuki Su's fantastical set design to Jennifer Palmer's (The Carolina Ballet) mesmerizing choreography.

BWW Review: NRACT'S Fun FIRST DATE Worthy of a First Impression RoseBWW Review: NRACT'S Fun FIRST DATE Worthy of a First Impression Rose
July 14, 2018

FIRST DATE is a cute, somewhat formulaic, kitsch musical comedy that packs a whole lot of laughs. The show, which premiered at Seattle's ACT Theatre in 2012 and opened on Broadway a year later, kicks off North Raleigh Arts Creative Theatre's (NRACT'S) new season. The score features music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner of the upcoming movie-to-Broadway adaptations of 17 AGAIN and 13 GOING ON 30. Casey is a self-proclaimed serial dater who is set up with Aaron, who she dubs a BDV (blind date virgin). As the date unfolds in real time (sans intermission), the unlikely pair navigates through the ice-breakers, awkward moments, and conversational landmines all too familiar to anybody who has been on a blind date.

BWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's Inventive, Heartfelt BIG FISH Transports Audience to a Simpler TimeBWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's Inventive, Heartfelt BIG FISH Transports Audience to a Simpler Time
July 12, 2018

Theatre Raleigh's BIG FISH transports audiences to a simpler time, before the age of social media and the insatiable need to curate personal stories on small screens. This is the stuff of pure imagination. Based on Daniel Wallace's 1998 novel, BIG FISH centers around the character of Edward Bloom (Timothy Gulan), a traveling salesman who spins some tall tales about mermaids, giants, witches, and werewolves to his son Will (Chris Dwan). But Will, who is getting ready to start a family of his own, isn't buying the stories his dad is telling and is running out of time to reconcile the metaphorical river between them. Gulan's charismatic Bloom exudes a boyish charm and energy that makes it easy to buy the bill of goods he is selling. Lauren Kennedy's winsome performance as Bloom's wife Sandra is enchanting and heartfelt and reminds us that beyond her role as Producing Artistic Director of Theatre Raleigh, she is a Broadway star in her own right. Dwan, as Will, holds his own against the veteran leads and sings with a clarity that resonates throughout The Kennedy Theatre. And the strong supporting ensemble cast sing and stomp their way through Andrew Lippa's perky score and Abbey O'Brien's choreography with an eagerness that is infectious.

BWW Interview: Women's Theatre Festival Artistic Director Ashley Popio Combines Art Forms to Elevate GOBLIN MARKETBWW Interview: Women's Theatre Festival Artistic Director Ashley Popio Combines Art Forms to Elevate GOBLIN MARKET
July 11, 2018

Christina Rosetti's poem 'The Goblin Market,' explores the themes of temptation, sacrifice, and the loss of innocence and has been the subject of varied interpretations and creative adaptations ever since its publication in 1862. One such adaptation is a musical version by Polly Pen and Peggy Harmon which premiered in 1985 and had a successful run off-Broadway at Circle in the Square. This week, Pen and Harmon's piece opens at Burning Coal Theatre as part of The Women's Theatre Festival, and Director Ashley Popio says Rosetti's poem is as timely as ever. 'Here are two sisters that are coming of age and what happens to them is they dare to step off the path and they are attacked by goblins,' she says. 'And isn't that sort of a metaphor for what happens to us as women today if we dare to stray from the path.' 'So, one of the reasons we chose to cast this show with one black sister and one white sister, is we wanted to show that through intersectional feminism, women supporting each other no matter what, putting sisterhood first, that we can indeed fight those goblins together and emerge triumphant,' she adds. The show, which marks the first time The Women's Theatre Festival has embarked on a musical, combines elements of theater, ballet, and classical music to create an air of magic, which Popio calls addictive.

BWW Feature: Theatre in the Park Announces 2019 SeasonBWW Feature: Theatre in the Park Announces 2019 Season
July 10, 2018

Theatre in the Park (TIP) announced its 2019 Season Tuesday. 'We bring you a season with passion laughter and tears, special effects that will make you jump in your seat, and complex characters that speak to the soul and remind you what's most important in life,' says Marilyn Gormon. The season kicks off next February with David Mamet's A LIFE IN THE THEATRE, running February 8-24, starring the father-son-duo of Ira David Wood III and Ira David Wood IV. GODSPELL runs April 12-28, featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (WICKED and PIPPIN). From June 7-23, audiences can take a trip to Cape Cod with the three Stockton sisters of Melissa Ross' OF GOOD STOCK. Back by popular demand, Ira David Wood III's adaptation of Bram Stoker's DRACULA reclaims the stage October 4-20, 2019.

BWW Interview: Dustin Britt, Heather Strickland, and Havana Blum Share Immersive SEED ART SHARE'S THE MIRACLE WORKERBWW Interview: Dustin Britt, Heather Strickland, and Havana Blum Share Immersive SEED ART SHARE'S THE MIRACLE WORKER
July 10, 2018

In the past, immersive theater productions were something seen in bigger cities. But now, Seed Art Share has brought immersive 'shared art' experiences to the Triangle. Next month, the company is presenting William Gibson's classic playTHE MIRACLE WORKER at The Borden House in Fletcher Park. I had the chance to sit down with Dustin Britt (Director), Havana Blum (Helen) and Heather Strickland (Anne Sullivan) on location at The Borden House to talk about the challenges of staging an immersive production and Helen Keller's legacy.

BWW Interview: THE BOOK OF MORMON'S Kayla Pecchioni Talks About Playing the Straight Man Amidst Outrageous Comedy in Advance of DPAC ShowBWW Interview: THE BOOK OF MORMON'S Kayla Pecchioni Talks About Playing the Straight Man Amidst Outrageous Comedy in Advance of DPAC Show
July 9, 2018

When Kayla Pecchioni first saw Tony Award-winning THE BOOK OF MORMON about six years ago, she didn't quite get it. 'It's so funny when I saw the show I actually could not grasp the message,' she says. 'I was so overwhelmed by how in your face it was, I was like, 'what is this show, what is going on,' I just had no clue what it was about.' So, when she got the call to come audition for the role of Nabalungi, the principal female lead, she had some trepidation about it. 'I was like I don't know if I can say the things that they say, do the things they do,' she says. 'And I talked to a couple of my friends who were in the show on Broadway and they were just like 'no, this is really, to quote the show, going to change your life.' And it has every day since.'

BWW Interview: Triangle Rising Star Winner Mya Ison Reflects on Her JIMMY AWARDS ExperienceBWW Interview: Triangle Rising Star Winner Mya Ison Reflects on Her JIMMY AWARDS Experience
July 8, 2018

Mya Ison is still beaming after spending a week in New York for The Jimmy Awards, the National High School Musical Theatre Awards that celebrate the best in high school musical talent. Ison's journey to The Jimmy Awards started at The Durham Performing Arts Center last May when she and Sterling Jones won DPAC's Triangle Rising Stars regional competition. She sat down with me to discuss her experience at The Jimmy Awards, what participating in high school musical theater has meant to her, and what's next.

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
July 7, 2018

PIPPIN opened on Broadway in 1972 under the direction of legendary choreographer Bob Fosse. In 2013, the show was reimagined as a circus spectacle for the Tony Award-winning revival. The North Carolina Theatre production of PIPPIN, showcasing the talents of its North Carolina Theatre Conservatory students, opens this weekend at The A.J. Fletcher Opera Theatre in Downtown Raleigh. At the heart of this production,is the enthusiasm and the charisma of the 38 middle school and high school students who shine under the tutelage of the professionals who they've worked with for four weeks this summer to put on this semi-professional production.



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