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 Review: Exquisite Storytelling Makes the PlayMakers' World Premiere of Charly Simpson's JUMP a Must-SeeBWW Review: Exquisite Storytelling Makes the PlayMakers' World Premiere of Charly Simpson's JUMP a Must-See
Posted: Jan. 29, 2019


BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's A LIFE IN THE THEATRE Celebrates a Life Lived in the TheatreBWW Review: Theatre in the Park's A LIFE IN THE THEATRE Celebrates a Life Lived in the Theatre
Posted: Feb. 11, 2019


BWW Review: A Mother's Observations of Honest Pint Theatre Company's Production of THE HERDBWW Review: A Mother's Observations of Honest Pint Theatre Company's Production of THE HERD
Posted: Jan. 30, 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


BWW Review: Burning Coal Theatre's ASHE IN JOHANNESBURG, Good Story but Needs Some WorkBWW Review: Burning Coal Theatre's ASHE IN JOHANNESBURG, Good Story but Needs Some Work
Posted: Jan. 28, 2019


BWW Interview: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY'S James Young Talks about Grandpa Joe and the Importance of Theater for Young PeopleBWW Interview: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY'S James Young Talks about Grandpa Joe and the Importance of Theater for Young People
Posted: Feb. 7, 2019


BWW Review: Oozy, Saccharine Sweet National Tour of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Just Might Be One Concoction Worth TryingBWW Review: Oozy, Saccharine Sweet National Tour of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Just Might Be One Concoction Worth Trying
Posted: Feb. 13, 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: 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.'

BWW Interview: Theatre in the Park's Ira David Wood III Opens Up About Family, His Legacy, Christmas, and Scrooge
November 16, 2018

BWW Interview: Theatre in the Park's Ira David Wood III Opens Up About Family, His Legacy, Christmas, and Scrooge

BWW 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.



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