10 on Tuesday with HAIR's Michelle Lauto

10 on Tuesday with HAIR's Michelle Lauto

This is the dawning of a age of...10 on Tuesday. We caught up with talented Chicago actress Michelle Lauto, currently appearing in Mercury Theater Chicago's hit production of HAIR about how her summer of love is going. Here's what she had to say:

1) Show you first auditioned for (and did you get the part)? I remember auditioning for some children's touring show when I was probably 10 or 11. I sang "On My Own" (yikes) and did NOT get the part. I cried so hard that my parents gently encouraged me to hold off on auditioning professionally until I was old enough to take the heartbreak that sometimes comes with it. Jokes on them! 16-year-olds are just better at brooding alone in their rooms without people knowing! I am still a pretty emotional mess of an adult but not so much over roles anymore. You win some, you lose some!

2) Where are you originally from? I am from a small Jersey suburb of NYC. No, it isn't near the shore. Yes, I will judge you if you ask me that.

3) When did you know you wanted a career on the stage? Some of my earliest memories are singing and dancing around my living room and putting on shows for family. At my Kindergarten graduation I said I wanted to be a dancer when I grew up so I guess sometime before then is when my mind was made up. Although these days I would definitely call myself an actor/singer who moves. ;)

4) What's your dream role/production? I have wanted to be Meg in the stage adaptation of Disney's Hercules long before a stage adaptation was even in the works. Hercules has the best music of any animated film and if ever there were a Disney heroine with Jersey sensibilities, it's Meg. It's a match made in heaven!

5) Favorite post-performance haunt? Chicago is such a cool theatre town because the city is huge and the theatre is truly EVERYWHERE! One contract might have you setting up in one neighborhood for a while, and the next could have you somewhere completely different so I don't have specific places that I must hit but I am almost ALWAYS craving french fries and a burger after doing a show. SECOND DINNER! Get into it!

6) Living or dead, who would you drop everything to see perform? Liza with a Z!

7) What's your guilty pleasure/vice? I absolutely adore trashy crime procedurals. I have seen every episode of Law & Order: SVU more than once and I don't even think I feel that guilty about it.

8) What do you value most about acting? I love the community that comes with acting. I love getting to know new people from all walks of life and working with them to build something magical. I love all the little traditions that the theatre community has. There's always more work to do, but I believe we're always trying to take care of our people.

9) What is the one song you never want to hear again at an audition? "Pulled" from Addams Family. "On My Own" from Les Mis. Are you hearing me, little Michelle? Dangit, she's crying again.

10) Fill in the blank: "The thing I'd never change about theatre in Chicago is ..." ...it's fierce commitment to making thoughtful and soul-stirring art. Chicago is a town full of workers. The people here truly do theatre because they're trying to make something amazing and say something important with their art. It's a city that knows there's more progress to make but is willing to work to get there.

You can catch Michelle Lauto as Sheila in HAIR through Sept. 24 at the Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport. Tickets are $30-$65. mercurytheaterchicago.com or 773.525.1700.

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From This Author Misha Davenport

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