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 and host of the RDU on Stage podcast. 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: 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.

BWW Interview: Days After NBC Cancels Rise, NRACT's Artistic Director Opens Up About SPRING AWAKENING
May 18, 2018

North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre (NRACT) is closing out their 2017-2018 season with the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening. NRACT Artistic Director Tim Locklear says although the show is controversial and for mature audiences only, due to the subject matter and brief nudity, Spring Awakening is as relevant as ever. Spring Awakening was also the subject of this season's NBC series Rise. 'For people who watched the TV show and didn't know about the musical, it breathes new life into the show,' says Locklear. 'But Spring Awakening is one of those shows that has a following, along with shows like Rent and Hair.' Read more about what Locklear has to say about Spring Awakening and hear what the cast has to say about NRACT's upcoming production.

BWW Review: Theatre Raleigh's Sweet, Heartfelt DADDY LONG LEGS Transports Audience to a Simpler Time
May 18, 2018

If it is the secret of happiness you seek, you might look no further than The Kennedy Theatre in Downtown Raleigh where Theatre Raleigh's production of 'Daddy Long Legs' opened last night. Based on the 1912 novel by Jean Webster, the two-actor musical 'Daddy Long Legs' is the coming-of-age story of Jerusha Abbott, the oldest orphan in The John Grier Home. Jerusha's life is forever changed when a mysterious unknown benefactor, who calls himself Mr. Smith, decides to send her to college. His nine-point plan 'for the further education of Jerusha Abbott' includes she write him one letter every month, which he will not read nor respond to. Over the next four years, Jerusha finds her spirit, voice, happiness, and love in the arms of Jervis Pendleton, who may have a secret of his own. 'Daddy Long Legs' is a sweet, heartfelt love story in the spirit of Miklos Laszlo's 1937 play 'Parfumerie,' which inspired the movies 'The Shop Around the Corner' and 'You've Got Mail.' And who knows, perhaps Theatre Raleigh's production may even inspire you to pen a love letter of your own.

BWW Interview: Jennifer Leigh Warren Sings The Blues in North Carolina Theatre's A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN
May 17, 2018

Broadway Veteran Jennifer Leigh Warren is reprising her role as The Blues Singer in North Carolina Theatre's 'A Night With Janis Joplin.' She played the role in the first and second national tour and spoke to me about the blues, Janis Joplin, and what's next. 'A Night With Janis Joplin' runs through May 20th at The Fletcher Opera Theatre. For more information, visit www.nctheatre.com.

BWW Feature: TRIANGLE RISING STARS Award Winners Announced at Durham Performing Arts Center
May 16, 2018

If the Triangle Rising Stars showcase is any indication, the future of musical theater is bright. On Tuesday night, 20 students representing 13 high schools across the Triangle and beyond performed at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) as part of the 2018 Triangle Rising Stars program. compete at The Jimmy Awards. This year, Mya Ison won the award for Best Actress. Ison won for her portrayal of Sarah in Enloe High School's production of Ragtime. She is graduating this June and plans to attend Boston University in the fall. Sterling Jones won the award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Gaston in Broughton High School's production of Beauty and the Beast. Jones is a rising senior and plans to attend the University North Carolina School of the Arts next year. In addition to Ison and Jones, Cary High School won the Best Ensemble Award for their production of The Secret Garden. Enloe High School won the Marchael Bayne Award for Best Musical for their production of Ragtime. Both schools received $1000 for their drama programs.

BWW Review: BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME at Raleigh Little Theatre is One History Lesson Not to be Missed
May 14, 2018

Playwright and performer Taylor Mac once said: "Theater reminds an audience of the things they've forgotten, dismissed, or buried or that others have buried for them. It unearths. It brings the conversation you aren't having with yourself into the room." Such is the case with Raleigh Little Theatre's world premiere ensemble version of Blood Done Sign My Name. The play by Mike Wiley, adapted from the memoir by Timothy Tyson, looks the "brutal history" of Oxford, NC in the eye during a time when the quaint town became a battleground for racial equity and social justice. Just as Hamilton informed how people have come to understand American History, Wiley's Blood Done Sign My Name moves audiences to face North Carolina's past in a way that is palatable, accessible, and thought-provoking, which is good, because this is one history lesson you don't want to miss.

BWW Review: THE ILLUSIONISTS LIVE FROM BROADWAY Delivers Good Family Fare to Durham Performing Arts Center
May 12, 2018

Gone are the days of the magic wand, rabbit, and top hat. Instead, THE ILLUSIONISTS LIVE FROM BROADWAY delivers a balanced mix of mind readers, escape artists, sleight-of-hand and disappearing acts to the stage. The standout of the show is Forensic Mind Reader Colin Cloud (aka The Deductionist). Cloud opens the show and returns in the second act to deliver a mind-bending performance that mesmerizes the audience, just as he did the judges on last season's 'America's Got Talent.' The producers of 'The Illusionists' should give him more stage time, as his performance alone is worth the price of admission, cementing his place as the face of a 'new generation of magicians" (although he is more entertainer and comedian than a magician per se).

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

Six-Time Tony Award Winning Costume Designer William Ivey Long is a busy man. He's not only working on five shows simultaneously, including the movie-to-Broadway musicals of 'Beetlejuice' and 'Tootsie' but he is also celebrating the publication of two books. books. The first accompanies The Mint Museum exhibition, William Ivey Long: Costume Designs 2007-2016, which runs through June 3rd in Charlotte, North Carolina. The second, The Designs of William Ivey Long, is a monograph by Bobbi Owen, chronicling Long's career over 350 shows. Next week, Long and Owen will be stopping by The North Carolina Museum of History to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The North Carolina Arts Council. They spoke to me to discuss Owen's book, Long's North Carolina roots and designing with improbable fabrics.

BWW Interview: Burning Coal's Artistic Director Jerome Davis Talks HAMILTUNES, Oakwood History, and Upcoming Season
May 10, 2018

Can't wait for Hamilton to come to Durham next fall? This weekend, Raleigh theater lovers can enjoy the music of Hamilton at Burning Coal Theatre's songfest, Hamiltunes. Burning Coal's Artistic Director Jerome Davis sat down with me to discuss Hamiltunes, Oakwood history, and the theatre's upcoming season.

BWW Interview: RALEIGH LITTLE THEATRE'S Artistic Director Patrick Torres Says BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME Speaks to National Experience Right Now
May 9, 2018

Timothy Tyson's book, BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME, chronicles his family's journey living in Oxford, NC in 1970, just after Henry 'Dickie' Marrow, an African American Army vet, was shot, beaten, and killed by three white men. Raleigh Little Theatre's Artistic Director Patrick Torres says he hopes the world premiere of Mike Wiley's ensemble version of BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME, which opens this week, will move the dial towards racial reconciliation.

BWW Interview: Megan McGinnis Talks About Making Her Directorial Debut in THEATRE RALEIGH'S Production of DADDY LONG LEGS
May 7, 2018

Broadway veteran Megan McGinnisis no stranger to the musical Daddy Long Legs. In fact, she originated the role of the character Jerusha at the Rubicon Theatre in 2009, where the musical premiered. These days, however, she is reimagining the show as the director for Theatre Raleigh's production which opens next week. She sat down with me to discuss making her directorial debut, revisiting material that is near and dear to her heart, and what's next. Daddy Long Legs opens at The Kennedy Theatre in Raleigh on May 16th and runs through May 27th. For more information, visit, www.theatreraleigh.com.

BWW Review: NORTH CAROLINA THEATRE'S A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN Rocks the Fletcher Opera Theater
May 5, 2018

Janis Joplin is alive and well and rocking the Fletcher Opera Theater at The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Directed by Randy Johnson, the creator, writer, and director of the 2014 Tony Award nominated production, North Carolina Theatre's A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN pays homage to the rock icon and resurrects the souls of the singers who inspired her.

BWW Interview: Ira David Wood IV Walks The Edge As Director, Performer And Puppeteer in Theatre In The Park's HAND TO GOD
April 30, 2018

Robert Askins' Tony Award nominated play Hand to God is about a puppet ministry in Texas that goes awry when a sock puppet wreaks havoc on the church, the pastor, and the other kids. Billed for mature audiences only, Ira David Wood IV says the irreverent Hand to God is one of those plays that walks the edge but never really crosses the line. Wood not only directs this production, but also steps into the dual role of the troubled teen Jason and his demonic puppet. This is his second time taking on the role of both director and performer, the first of which was Theatre in the Park's 2009 production of Romeo and Juliet, starring his sister, Evan Rachel Wood.

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

This week, North Carolina Theatre pays tribute to Janis Joplin and her influences by bringing Randy Johnson's 2014 Tony Award nominated A Night with Janis Joplin to the AJ Fletcher Opera House. Johnson not only wrote and directed the Broadway musical, but he is also directing the North Carolina Theatre production. Sharing the role of Joplin are Paige McNamara and Francesca Ferrari, both of whom say stepping into the rock icon's shoes, sharing her legacy, and working with Johnson is a dream come true.

BWW Feature: ALICE @ WONDERLAND Sensory-Friendly Performance Starts New Tradition at Raleigh Little Theatre
April 29, 2018

When I was a kid, my parents took me to the theater a lot. As a mom with a child on the autism spectrum, however, it's been hard to share my love of the theater with my daughter. So imagine my delight when I heard that Raleigh Little Theatre was collaborating with Arts Access to do a sensory-friendly performance of Alice @ Wonderland. To think that acommunity theater here in the Triangle was making theater accessible to special needs kids was just, in the words of the young Alice herself, awesome.

BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's Irreverent HAND TO GOD Delivers Laugh Out Loud Comedy
April 27, 2018

There is something very sinister happening at Theatre in the Park (TIP) in Raleigh and you only have until May 6th to catch it before it's exorcised. It's a good night out for mature audiences who don't mind a little blasphemy with their supper.

BWW Interview: Colin Cloud Plays Head Games in THE ILLUSIONISTS LIVE FROM BROADWAY Coming to the Durham Performing Arts Center in May
April 24, 2018

COLIN CLOUD considers himself more Sherlock Holmes than DAVID COPPERFIELD. Still, he says he is incredibly honored to be part of the cast of The Illusionists Live From Broadway coming to The Durham Performing Arts Center in May. 'The caliber of magicians that this show has, I am excluding myself here, I am talking about the other guys, are some of the greatest names in magic,' he says. 'These are guys who are hailed by other magicians as being the living legends of magic today.'

BWW Interview: Alton Fitzgerald White Talks LION KING, My Pride, and Life During Visit to Longleaf School of the Arts
April 23, 2018

The king has landed in Raleigh... that is ALTON FITZGERALD WHITE. White was the longest running Mufasa in Disney's The Lion King, playing over 4300 shows. He sat down with me to discuss The Lion King, his book, My Pride, and his view aboutderiving happiness from commonplace achievements.

BWW Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC at Durham Performing Arts Center
April 21, 2018

While the stage version of THE SOUND OF MUSIC does not follow the movie exactly, and the choreography at times seems contrived and clumsy, fans of the story will delight in Douglas W. Schmidt's sets, Tony Award-winnerJane Greenwood's costumes, and of course, in Rodgers and Hammerstein's music. In fact, at DPAC Friday night, you could hear the hum of the audience under the iconic songs, which seem to connect us all to each other in some way.

BWW Interview: Mike McLean Breathes New Life into Captain von Trapp and Leads THE SOUND OF MUSIC Back to Durham Performing Arts Center
April 10, 2018

Mike McLean leads the national tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC back to Durham April 20. McLean says the production is bigger and more beautiful than ever.



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