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 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 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 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 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 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.

BWW Interview: Theatre Raleigh's Lauren Kennedy And Eric Woodall Talk BIG FISH, Southern Roots, and Family
July 7, 2018

Director Eric Woodall is no stranger to the musical, BIG FISH. In fact, he was the casting director for the Broadway musical version which opened in 2013. Now he is bringing his experience with the production to Theatre Raleigh. The show, which opens next week, features Theatre Raleigh's Artistic Director, Lauren Kennedy as Sandra. Woodall and Kennedy sat down with me to discuss BIG FISH, their Southern roots, and family. BIG FISH runs July 11 - 22nd at The Kennedy Theatre at The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, with a special post-show talk-back with Daniel Wallace, author of BIG FISH, July 19th and July 22nd (sold out). For more information visit, www.theatreraleigh.com.

BWW Review: Fans Gleek Out During LM/DC Concert at DPAC
July 1, 2018

At what concert can you hear music from both Young the Giant and Olivia Newton-John? The LM/DC Tour featuring former "Glee" stars Lea Michele and Darren Criss. Michele and Criss kicked off the second leg of their tour this week. This weekend they play both the Durham Performing Arts Center and Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte. A youthful energy erupted when Michele and Criss took the stage at DPAC Friday night. They opened the show with "Broadway Baby," followed by two more Broadway popular showtune duets, "Suddenly, Seymour" and "Falling Slowly." Michele opened her solo set with "Cannonball" and "Battlefield" two songs from her first album "Louder." She continued singing fan favorites from "Glee" and paid homage to Lady Gaga and Pink, but it was "Don't Rain on My Parade," a song most recognizably sung by Barbra Streisand, that brought the audience to a standing ovation.

BWW Review: Women's Theatre Festival's PARALLEL LIVES Delivers Enough Knee-Slapping Moments of Hilarity to Be Worthy of a Night Out
June 30, 2018

According to Mo Gaffney, she and Kathy Najimy still think they are the funniest people on the planet. And if the play PARALLEL LIVES is any indication, they just might be. Najimy and Gaffney (better known as Kathy and Mo) first performed PARALLEL LIVES, a series of comedy sketches they penned about women, in 1983 at The Old Town Theatre in San Diego. Six years later, they opened the show off-Broadway and in 1991, PARALLEL LIVES became an HBO special. PARALLEL LIVES opens this weekend at Burning Coal Theatre as part of The Women's Theatre Festival. In this production, the roles originated by Gaffney and Najimy are being played by the Keith Liles and Emily Levinstone. While there is no through-line to PARALLEL LIVES per se, the common thread that ties these sketches together is one of acceptance and fundamental human rights, strikingly contemporary and relevant themes for a piece first performed over 30 years ago. And although some of the sketches work better than others, and the play runs long at just over two hours, there is enough thought-provoking funny material to make PARALLEL LIVES worthy of a girl's, err should I say women's, night out.

BWW Interview: Tito Hernandez Channels Inner Fosse for North Carolina Theatre's PIPPIN
June 28, 2018

PIPPIN is the story of a young prince trying to find the meaning of life. Pippin's struggle to find out where he fits into the world is not unlike the 38 middle school and high school students performing in North Carolina Theatre Conservatory's production, which opens July 6th at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in Downtown Raleigh. The students are part of the conservatory's Master Summer Theatre Arts School (STAS), one of the flagship pre-professional training programs of North Carolina Theatre. 'Pippin never finds anything fulfilling until he finally realizes he never had to go anyplace further than his own backyard to find what he was looking for,' says Director Tito Hernandez, who has been teaching at the conservatory for 18 years. 'It has a closure at the end and the message that you can search all over you want, but the happiness has to be within.' Hernandez first saw PIPPIN after it opened on Broadway in 1972, under the direction of Bob Fosse. But he says, this production is closer to the 2013 Tony Award-winning revival, including the circus choreography, acrobatics, and extended ending. And Hernandez, a dance veteran himself having made his Broadway debut in JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY, is no stranger to Fosse's artistry. In fact, he participated in a tribute event to Fosse before the legendary choreographer passed away and had the opportunity to meet him, work with his associates, and perform his choreography. PIPPIN runs July 6-8 at A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater at The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

BWW Interview: Lea Michele Reflects on Darren Criss, LM/DC Tour, and Importance of Family in Advance of DPAC Concert
June 23, 2018

This week, Lea Michele hits the road for the second leg of her LM/DC tour with "Glee" co-star Darren Criss. The duo is scheduled to play the Durham Performing Arts Center on June 30th, and Michele says audiences can expect a fantastic show full of surprises. "Obviosly we sing some of our most popular songs from 'Glee' as well as songs that we just love from outside of the show, from Broadway, or maybe from some of our personal records that we've released, but we also tell a lot of stories, and I think that's what fans have loved the most," Michele says. Once the second leg of the tour is over, Michele, who is newly engaged to AYR clothing president Zandy Reich, is looking forward to taking the rest of the summer off but says she is also hoping to grow the tour with Criss overseas.

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

It's been a busy week for Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth. First, she hosted the Banff World Media Festival's Rockie Awards, where she ingeniously sang 'Bring Him Home' accompanied by Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC. Then she hosted the Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Bootcamp in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, a cause for good, she couldn't be prouder of. 'If I can be of any inspiration at all to the younger generation and after that and after that and after that, then I feel like I am doing what I'm supposed to do,' she adds. 'And it blesses me, as much as I hope they are blessed.' Chenoweth is preparing for two upcoming concerts in Boone and Asheville and says audiences in Western Carolina can expect to hear an eclectic mix of music. 'I think people can expect a little bit of everything, which with my taste, that seems about right,' she says. 'I'm really living in the world of Don Henley lately, and of course Dolly Parton, that's my favorite, so there will be Don Henley and Dolly Parton, new stuff, not stuff I've done before.' 'I do really enjoy the concert workbecause I get to sing what I want to sing,' she adds. 'I enjoy taking the audience on a ride.' Chenoweth will be performing at The Schaeffer Center for the Performing Arts on August 4th and at The US Cellular Center in Asheville October 7th.

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

You are cordially invited to Theatre in the Park (TIP) for the wedding of Brian Howard and Rebecca Steinberg. But before you pop the cork on that bottle of champagne, or dance the Hora, the bride and groom might have something to share. IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU opened on Broadway in 2015, after a 2011 run at The George Street Theater Playhouse in New Jersey, where it was the highest-grossing production in the theater's 40-year history. And that's because although the musical rom-com is somewhat hokey and formulaic, it is also very funny. TIP's cast effortlessly sing their way through Barbara Anselmi and Brian Hargrove's catchy and cheery score. But it's the standout comedic performances that make TIP's production work. Ultimately, IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU is about family and the craziness that ensues when you bring two families from different backgrounds together through wedded bliss. And judging by the glowing response of the audience opening night, TIP's walk down the aisle is sure to be the social event of its season.

BWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's Compelling SIGNIFICANT OTHER Strikes Delicate Balance
June 15, 2018

Always a bridesmaid, never the bride or so the old saying goes. But what happens when all the bridesmaids become brides and the gay best friend is left quite literally standing alone? That's the premise of Joshua Harmon's smart, funny and poignant play SIGNIFICANT OTHER. Harmon's play premiered off-Broadway in 2015 and was billed as one of the top ten productions that year by The New York Times. It opened for a limited run on Broadway in 2017, marking Harmon's Broadway debut. This week SIGNIFICANT OTHER marks the second production in Theatre Raleigh's Summer Series at The Kennedy Theatre. Harmon, as a millennial himself, truly has his finger on the pulse of the 20-something generation, which makes this play completely engaging for the under 30 crowd. But the questions posed by Harmon's script and the fear of being alone are ageless and will appeal to all audiences. The bottom line is SIGNIFICANT OTHER is one invitation worth RSVPing to.

BWW Interview: Mo Gaffney Talks Feminists, Funny Women, and the Relevancy of PARALLEL LIVES 35 Years Later
June 11, 2018

In the opening scene of PARALLEL LIVES, two Supreme Beings plan the beginning of the world with the relish of two slightly sadistic suburban wives decorating a living room. From this moment, the audience is whisked through a series of skits that catapult them into the outrageous universe of comediennes Kathy Najimy and Maureen (Mo) Gaffney. Najimy and Gaffney first performed PARALLEL LIVES in 1983 at The Old Town Theatre in San Diego. Six years later, they opened the show off-Broadway at The Westside Theatre in New York and in 1991, PARALLEL LIVES became an HBO special. Later this month, Emily Levinstone and Keith Liles step into Kathy and Mo's shoes for the opening of PARALLEL LIVES at Burning Coal Theatre as part of the North Carolina Women's Theatre Festival. Judy Long, who is making her Raleigh directorial debut, says the show covers themes that are relevant today as they were 35 years ago, including women's rights, LGBTQ rights,and acceptance. Gaffney and Long opened up about the relevancy of PARALLEL LIVES 35 years later.

BWW Review: Poignant, Dramedy CRUMBLE (LAY ME DOWN JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE) Opens Women's Theatre Festival
June 9, 2018

What do you get when you cross a grief-stricken mother, a bomb-making daughter, a crazy cat lady for an aunt, an apartment mourning for better days, and an apparition manifesting himself in the form of Justin Timberlake and Harrison Ford? Sheila Callaghan's play CRUMBLE (LAY ME DOWN, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE), which is the first installment of The Women's Theatre Festival's (WTF's) third season. There is something comedic, poignant, and unexpected about CRUMBLE, which makes it a valiant start to WTF's 'Women as Heroes' third season. The show runs through June 24th at Burning Coal Theatre.

BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's DON'T DRESS FOR DINNER Serves Up Comic Romp About Marriage, Infidelity and Alibis Gone Awry
June 8, 2018

Raleigh Little Theatre's Don't Dress for Dinner is a comic romp about marriage, infidelity, and alibis gone awry. Bernard (Rob Jenkins) is planning a romantic weekend with his mistress (A.C. Donohue) in his charming converted French farmhouse, while his wife, Jacqueline (Jenny Anglum), is away. He has arranged for a Cordon Bleu cook (Tara Nicole Williams) to prepare dinner and has invited his best friend Robert (Michael Parker), along to provide a cover story. What ensues is a French farce that at times borders on the ridiculous but is sustained by the comic timing of the cast who masterfully work their way through the rhythm of Marc Camoletti's wordy script. Jenkins and Parker channel their inner Laurel and Hardy as the bumbling Bernard and affected Robert, while the over-the-top performances and physical comedy of Donohue, Anglum, and Williams are on point for this type of material. Runs through June 24th at Raleigh Little Theatre.

BWW Interview: Broadway Vet Turned Director Julia Murney Dishes About Theatre Raleigh's SIGNIFICANT OTHER
June 8, 2018

Broadway Veteran Julia Murney is stepping out of her comfort zone and into the director's chair to direct Theatre Raleigh's production of Joshua Harmon's play Significant Other. Murney sat down with me to discuss Significant Other, life of an actor, and what's next. Significant Other opens June 13th and runs through June 24th at The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. For more information visit www.theatreraleigh.com.

BWW Interview: Director Kayla M. Kaufman Hopes WTF's CRUMBLE (LAY ME DOWN JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE) Will Inspire Radical Compassion and Empathy
June 4, 2018

This week, The Women's Theatre Festival opens its third season, Women Are Heroes, with Sheila Callaghan's Crumble (Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake). 'I think it is one of the hardest plays I've ever worked on in terms of how to describe it to an outsider,' says Director Kayla M. Kaufman, who is making her Raleigh directorial debut. 'It centers around the relationship between Clara and Janice, a mother and a daughter, who a year ago, lost the father of the family who died in a calamity.' 'So fast forward a year and everything is crumbling, nothing is going well,' she adds. 'Mother is trying to pull it together to be strong enough for Janice. Janice thinks that she is going to solve everything by building a bomb. Barbara, the sister of Clara, is trying to care for her 57 cats but also her stressed out sister. Harrison Ford and Justin Timberlake are flying in through the window. And of course, the apartment, who is obviously a character, is trying to murder everyone.' Crumble opens June 8th at Burning Coal Theatre.

BWW Review: NRACT'S SPRING AWAKENING Delivers Timely Message
June 3, 2018

The Tony Award-winning SPRING AWAKENING begs the question: 'How will we know what to do if our parents won't tell us?' The provocative show, which opened June 1st, closes out North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre's (NRACT) 2017-2018 season. Adapted from Frank Wedekind's 1890 play 'Spring's Awakening A Children's Tragedy,' the musical tells the story of a group of teenagers coming of age and sexual awakening amid a repressive German society. More than a century after Wedekind's play was first performed, the themes of SPRING AWAKENING, including that of sexuality, rape, abuse, incest, abortion, homosexuality, and suicide, are as relevant today as ever, which is why NRACT's Director Tim Locklear felt this was an important story to tell. Billed for mature audiences due to content and brief nudity, NRACT's SPRING AWAKENING holds a mirror up to the way in which we communicate with and listen to each other, especially our children, a haunting lesson that will linger long after the final bow.

BWW Feature: National Tours Leave Their Mark (Literally) at Durham Performing Arts Center
June 1, 2018

Backstage the walls at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) boast a who's who of A-list stars. That's because every act, fromRobin Williams to Rob Lowe, who has performed at DPAC from the time the theater opened its doors in 2008, has signed the hallowed halls. And the celebrities aren't the only ones who have left their mark. Every national touring production since Rent opened at DPAC in January 2009 has 'tagged' the walls with a painted logo. In 2011, the national touring production of Shrek painted the first 'mimic' logo, which has become a DPAC wall tag tradition ever since. The mimic wall tags appropriate logos from other shows. For example, the School of Rock wall tag is reminiscent of the poster from The Sound of Music and The Sound of Music company painted a mimic logo reminiscent of The Book of Mormon. At DPAC, several floors backstage are covered with wall tags and signatures, but according to Jacob Holland, DPAC's Membership Manager, there are still empty walls to be painted. Holland says the public can see the wall tags during one of DPAC's monthly behind-the-scenes tours.



4