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: Tony-Award Winning Costume Designer William Ivey Long Talks BEETLEJUICE, Design Process, and MoreBWW Interview: BEETLEJUICE Costume Designer William Ivey Long
Posted: Jan. 18, 2019


BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's Contemporary Spin on Shakespeare's MEASURE FOR MEASURE is Relevant, Timely, and Surprisingly SymbolicBWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's Contemporary Spin on Shakespeare's MEASURE FOR MEASURE is Relevant, Timely, and Surprisingly Symbolic
Posted: Jan. 15, 2019


BWW Review: Smart, Funny PlayMakers' Premiere of 'Bewilderness' is a Mind Trip into the Psyche of Henry David Thoreau (and Zack Fine)BWW Review: Smart, Funny PlayMakers' Premiere of 'Bewilderness' is a Mind Trip into the Psyche of Henry David Thoreau (and Zack Fine)
Posted: Jan. 11, 2019


BWW Interview: North Carolina Theatre's New Producing Artistic Director Eric Woodall Talks Diversity in Casting, North Carolina Roots, and MAMMA MIA!BWW Interview: North Carolina Theatre's New Producing Artistic Director Eric Woodall Talks Diversity in Casting, North Carolina Roots, and MAMMA MIA!
Posted: Jan. 11, 2019


BWW Interview: MISS SAIGON'S Red Concepci?n Says this Grittier Version of the Show is Resonating with American AudiencesBWW Interview: MISS SAIGON'S Red Concepci?n Says this Grittier Version of the Show is Resonating with American Audiences
Posted: Jan. 18, 2019


BWW Review: MISS SAIGON at Durham Performing Arts Center is Too Loud, Too Heavy-Handed, and Too MuchBWW Review: MISS SAIGON at Durham Performing Arts Center is Too Loud, Too Heavy-Handed, and Too Much
Posted: Jan. 23, 2019


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 Review: MISS SAIGON at Durham Performing Arts Center is Too Loud, Too Heavy-Handed, and Too Much
January 23, 2019

In the second act of MISS SAIGON, there is a song called 'Too Much for One Heart.' And that's how one might describe the national touring production of MISS SAIGON which opened at the Durham Performing Arts Center last night. It's just too much.

BWW Interview: Tony-Award Winning Costume Designer William Ivey Long Talks BEETLEJUICE, Design Process, and More
January 18, 2019

North Carolina's own William Ivey Long has been busy designing the costumes for two of this season's most anticipated musicals: TOOTSIE and BEETLEJUICE. When I visited him in his Tribeca studio last summer, he talked to me about his design process, the many BEETLEJUICE jackets, and his North Carolina roots. BEETLEJUICE opens at The Winter Garden Theatre this March. For more information visit: www.BeetlejuiceBroadway.com.


January 18, 2019

Red Concepcion grew up listening to show tunes. In fact, he remembers listening to cast albums like MISS SAIGON from the age of five. Fast forward 20 plus years and Concepcion found himself playing the role of The Engineer on the UK tour. He says although he knew the music by heart, he had no idea how big and epic the show was until rehearsals started. And for that five-year-old little boy growing up listening to the soundtrack in the Philippines, working with Claude Michel Schonberg (music), Alain Boublil (lyrics), and ?Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyrics) is a dream come true. 'It's wonderful as an actor to be in such a creative space,' he says. 'They don't write scores like this anymore.'

BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's Contemporary Spin on Shakespeare's MEASURE FOR MEASURE is Relevant, Timely, and Surprisingly Symbolic
January 15, 2019

Perhaps the most sobering thing about Raleigh Little Theatre's production of MEASURE FOR MEASURE is the fact that the same societal afflictions making headlines today were timely 400 years ago. Even more telling perhaps is the fact that Shakespeare, an astute observer of humanity, was inspired to speak out and pen this tale of power, abuse, injustice, and sexual misconduct.

BWW Interview: North Carolina Theatre's New Producing Artistic Director Eric Woodall Talks Diversity in Casting, North Carolina Roots, and MAMMA MIA!
January 11, 2019

After 16 years with Tara Rubin Casting, Eric Woodall has come home. Born and raised in Benson, North Carolina, Woodall is the new Producing Artistic Director of North Carolina Theatre. He is also overseeing the North Carolina Theatre Conservatory, a program which is near and dear to his heart. Hear what Woodall has to say about his North Carolina roots, diversity in casting, and directing the upcoming North Carolina Theatre production of MAMMA MIA!

BWW Review: Smart, Funny PlayMakers' Premiere of 'Bewilderness' is a Mind Trip into the Psyche of Henry David Thoreau (and Zack Fine)
January 11, 2019

When Zack Fine's play BEWILDERNESS begins, it feels like a time machine has landed at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill and philosopher and writer Henry David Thoreau has emerged. Fine, playing himself, directly addresses the audience while Thoreau, eagerly played by company member Geoffrey Culbertson, wanders aimlessly about the stage pondering the question: Is the afterlife a regional theater in North Carolina? The curtain opens and the time travelers find themselves at Thoreau's cabin on Walden Pond, roughly built to scale on the Kenan stage. What happens next borders on the ridiculous, absurd, and downright funny.

BWW Review: Ready to Throttle Your Elf on the Shelf? Well, Theatre in the Park's SANTALAND DIARIES May Be Just the Ticket
December 17, 2018

Four years ago, my husband and I took our kids to New York for Christmas. Like many unsuspecting fools, we just had to see the Macy's Santa. After winding our way through a gumdrop forest for what seemed to be an eternity, we made it to Santa's house, where he chatted with our fed up children for about 30 seconds before shuffling off to housewares. So maybe that's why the Theatre in the Park production of David Sedaris' THE SANTALAND DIARIES tickled my funny bone so.

BWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's OH WHAT A HOLY NIGHT Concert Showcases Local Talent
December 15, 2018

There are times I drag my reluctant husband to a show because if I didn't, I might not ever see him. And I'm pretty sure he would tell you he finds most shows uninspiring. However, as we left The Kennedy Theatre tonight following Theatre Raleigh's OH WHAT A HOLY NIGHT holiday show, he turned to me and said, 'That was a GFE, a good fun evening out.' I probably could end this write-up right there, because coming from him, that's saying a lot. But I will expound a bit more to say that this production is not only a 'GFE,' but also showcases for some of the Triangle's most talented singers, including Yolanda Rabun, Shayla LaGrange, L.E. Barone, Areon Mobasher, and Derek Robinson. They are joined by Dave Toole, who is not from Raleigh, but may be considered an honorary North Carolinian at this point since this is his third production here in as many months.

BWW Interview: Estes Tarver Talks Movies, TV, and Moonlight
December 14, 2018

You may know him as Tom Tilden from the CBS Sci-FI Show 'Under the Dome' or the Duke Energy guy or even as Chad Thompson in his award-winning movie 'Changeover.' But Estes Tarver is more than an actor, writer, director, and producer. He's also the Artistic Director of Moonlight Stage Company in North Raleigh and coaching the next crop of up-and-comers. Next up for Tarver is performing inthe upcoming North Carolina Theatreproduction of MAMMA MIA. Hear what he has to say about making it as a working actor in Raleigh, working on high-profile television shows like 'Under the Dome' and 'House of Cards,' and building the Moonlight Stage Company.

BWW Review: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts' Production of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER Pays Homage to TV Classic and Delivers Timely Universal Message
December 13, 2018

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But how well do you really know Rudolph? Sure, if you're like me, you remember watching the stop-motion animated special on television as a kid. And surely you've heard Gene Autry's version of the song time and time again. But seeing the animated musical version come to life onstage at The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts sheds a new light on this age-old tale about misfit toys, castaway elves, and a red-nosed outcast.

BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a Joyful, Poignant, Telling Reminder of What Christmas is About
December 11, 2018

'Every year around this time of year, people come to hear the story' And that's the way it's been for the last 43 years as audiences have come to see the Theatre in the Park production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and Ira David Wood III as Scrooge. The show opens this Wednesday at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Adapted by Ira David Wood III, this version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL follows the traditional Dickens story, with a bit of updated humor. The miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts the night before Christmas. The apparitions are a telling reminder of Christmases past and a foreshadowing of Christmases to come.

BWW Review: Stage Adaptation of ELF Lacks the Magic Mojo of the Movie
December 7, 2018

In the Broadway musical ELF, one of the characters says, 'Lower your expectations and you won't be disappointed.' Perhaps audiences attending the touring production of ELF playing at The Durham Performing Arts Center this week should heed that advice. Based on the 2003 movie, ELF tells the story of Buddy, a human raised by elves in The North Pole. When Buddy learns he is not actually an elf, he sets off on a journey to New York to find his biological father, a surly book publisher who is on Santa's naughty list. The movie featured a stellar cast including Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, and Will Ferrell as Buddy. And according to 'Forbes,' 'Entertainment Weekly' and The British Film Institute, ELF is one of the best Christmas movies of all time. So you might expect that a stage adaptation of ELF would follow suit. Nope. Sadly, the staged version lacks the mojo that made its movie predecessor work.

BWW Review: THE WEIR at Burning Coal Theatre Stirs Up Haunting Tale of Woe
December 6, 2018

What makes a good play? A musical can hook you with a snappy showstopper, but a play, on the other hand, is all about the language, rhythm, and story. And some of the best contemporary plays I've seen of late are more character-driven than plot-driven and an exploration into the daily life of the everyman, muddling through just like the rest of us, trying to find himself or reconcile with his inner demons. I suppose it is the fine art of storytelling, as well as the astute observation of the ordinary while skating between the supernatural and the mundane, that makes Burning Coal's current production of Conor McPherson's THE WEIR so engrossing.

BWW Review: Steeped in Tradition, Raleigh Little Theatre's CINDERELLA Brims with Enchantment
December 3, 2018

Seeing children at the theater makes me giddy with excitement. Seeing them dressed up in costumes and fully immersed in the experience is a bonus. I'm also a sucker for tradition. So, to say that the Raleigh Little Theatre's 35th annual holiday production of CINDERELLA checked all those boxes and exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. Yes, this production is bustling with local talent, including the charming Lauren Knott (Cinderella), the bewitching Lauren Bamford (Fairy Godmother) and the wickedly witty Elizabeth Quesada (Stepmama). And yes, the show has humor due in part to funny men Timothy Cherry and M. Dennis Poole, who have played opposite each other as Cinderella's stepsisters for over twenty years. But what makes this production truly enchanting is the fact that it has been nurtured with tender loving care by collaborators director Mike McGee, choreographer Jess Barbour, and music director Joanna Li.

BWW Review: North Carolina Theatre's ALADDIN AND HIS WINTER WISH Pays Homage to Panto Tradition and Roasts Raleigh in a Fun, Knockabout Kind of Way
November 30, 2018

Cute costumed kids filed into The Duke Energy Center Thursday night to see Lythgoe Family Panto production of ALADDIN AND HIS WINTER WISH. The show marks the first of a three-year partnership between the Lythgoe family and North Carolina Theatre and the first foray into the Christmas show market for North Carolina Theatre. While this isn't the Disney version of ALADDIN, the story is essentially the same. A street rat with a dream meets a princess, gets trapped in a cave, finds a lamp, meets a Genie, makes a wish, buys a laundromat, makes it snow, and lives happily ever after. And by all accounts, the kids in the audience loved every minute of it.

BWW Interview: Yolanda Rabun Opens Up About Upcoming Theatre Raleigh Christmas Concert, Paying Tribute to Nina Simone, and Living Life on Purpose
November 30, 2018

Raleigh audiences last saw national recording artist Yolanda Rabun play Medda Larkin in the North Carolina Theatre production of NEWSIES last summer. In fact, she has been nominated for a Broadway World Raleigh Award for that performance. On December 12th, she returns to the Raleigh stage to perform in the Theatre Raleigh concert OH WHAT A HOLY NIGHT. Hear what she has to say about singing Christmas music, paying tribute to Nina Simone this summer, and living life on purpose.

BWW Interview: Eric Williams' Inner ELF Can't Wait to Share Buddy's Tale of Optimism and Perseverance with DPAC Audiences
November 28, 2018

Eric Williams grew up watching Christmas movies with his family in St. Louis. In fact, he says it was his family who instilled in him a passion and excitement for the holiday movie genre. And while he likes some of the more traditional classic films, the more recent ones that put a contemporary spin on Christmas are by far his favorites. "They try and tell you what the meaning of Christmas is, but do it in a very fresh and modern way," he says. "The modern sensibility of such an old tradition, it really tickles me and excites me." So, it should be no surprise that the 2003 movie 'Elf' is on Williams' short list of Christmas favorites. But what might be surprising is the fact that it wasn't the Will Ferrell movie that made Williams want to step into Buddy the Elf's green, pointy shoes. It was the original song "World's Greatest Dad" from the Broadway musical that really spoke to Williams.

BWW Interview: Raleigh Native Beth Leavel Opens Up About Finding Her Life Path, Channeling Her Evil Twin, and Building THE PROM
November 26, 2018

It was the kiss seen around the world when the cast of THE PROM took center stage at The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. They performed their finale number, at the end of which the two actresses who play the lesbian couple at the center of the show kissed. It was a first for the parade and a moment that was both celebrated and scorned on social media. For Raleigh native Beth Leavel, who is starring in THE PROM, that finale moment celebrates what this show is all about. 'If you come away with your heart exploring something you didn't' think was possible, wow,' she says. 'Theater is amazing.'

BWW Review: Dear Friend, SHE LOVES ME is an Old-Fashioned, Feel-Good, Sweet, Holiday Treat
November 24, 2018

Love is in the air at PlayMakers Repertory Company. That's because the musical romance SHE LOVES ME opened earlier this week at the Paul Green Theatre as a love letter to the Triangle to ring in the holiday season. It's a familiar story, especially to fans of the rom-com film genre. Boy and girl meet through a lonely-hearts club ad and begin corresponding through a series of letters. Little do the pair know that the object of their affection may be someone they already know, perhaps even a coworker at that shop around the corner. Inspired by the 1937 play PARFUMERIE by Miklos Laszlo, SHE LOVES ME opened on Broadway in 1963. Two revivals followed one in 1993 and the other in 2016. The latter revival, starring Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Jane Krakowski, and Gavin Creel, broke the Guinness World Record for being the first Broadway show to be live-streamed. If the plot sounds familiar, it just might be because Laszlo's 1937 play also spawned the 1940 Jimmy Stewart film 'The Shop Around the Corner,' the 1949 Judy Garland movie musical 'In the Good Old Summertime,' and the 1998 film, 'You've Got Mail,' starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

BWW Interview: Producer Kris Lythgoe Brushes Up on His Southern Colloquialisms for ALADDIN AND HIS WINTER WISH
November 17, 2018

Although the Lythgoe family is best known for producing reality television shows like 'So You Think You Can Dance' and 'American Idol,' live theater is in their blood. 'It's more part of my DNA,' says Kris Lythgoe. 'I really grew up surrounded by the tradition and frankly know nothing else.' Lythgoe says that tradition included spending his summers in the orchestra pit watching his mother direct, his winters in the editing suite with his TV dad, Nigel Lythgoe, and his Christmas holidays watching panto productions written and directed by both his parents. 'In Britain, the first introduction to theater is through panto for any child,' he says. 'So, whether or not my parents were in the business, the first introduction to theater and the breaking down of walls is what we call panto for kids.'



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