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THE FRIDAY FIVE (on Thursday): Cumberland County Playhouse's LAUREN MARSHALL

Inspired by BroadwayWorld.com's Friday Six, welcome to BroadwayWorld Nashville's latest installment of The Friday Five: five questions designed to help you learn more about the talented people you'll find onstage throughout the Volunteer state. Sure, it's Thursday, but there's only so much time before the holiday weekend kicks off in earnest and we have a whole slew of talented people we want to introduce to you before you've made all your 4th of July entertainment choices.

Today, our spotlight focuses on Lauren Marshall, the beautiful and talented, clever and imaginative company member from Crossville's Cumberland County Playhouse who, like most of her compatriots this summer, is playing a number of different roles in repertory. At one show, she's matriarch Vera Sanders in the 22nd annual run of Smoke on the Mountain, a few hours later she's Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins - and in between those performances, chances are she's rehearsing for another show! And with CCP celebrating its 50th birthday this year, Lauren and her friends are even busier, as they welcome bigger crowds than normal to the playhouse.

Take my advice: read her Friday Five interview, then go to www.ccplayhouse.com, figure out when's the best time to see a show (or shows), make your reservations and then go to Crossville and see the lovely Ms. Marshall onstage for yourself and you'll realize instantly why she's our very own "theatrical crush."

What was your first "live onstage" taste of theater? I grew up in a theatre family. My parents were, for quite a long time, THE theatre department at a small private university in my hometown. I would attend rehearsals with them as often as possible. Whenever a child was needed in a production, I was the go-to kid. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be involved in theatre.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? Sitting in the dressing room with plenty of time to paint my face always helps me relax and focus for my shows.

What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? Some of the most memorable, although not terribly light-hearted or jovial, "show must go on" moments came my first year at CCP. It seemed as though our Sanders Family shows were cursed. We had to stop performances for patrons falling, a heart attack, and even a tornado, all within the span of a month. After the crisis had passed, the cast had to get on stage and try to lure the audience back into our fictional world.

What's your dream role? Oh, that's a huge question! I have a few dream roles: Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Rose in Gypsy...Then there are some I've had the honor to play, like Charlotte in A Little Night Music. And, of course, there are always those that I didn't realize were my dream roles until I got the part- Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, for example. I love being surprised by a role - finding out it's exactly who I want to be playing at that moment in time.

Who's your theatrical crush? Oh, a lady doesn't kiss and tell...

BONUS: Tell me something about yourself that would surprise people. I have a Suzy Homemaker side. I love to do things like sew, knit, and bake in my free time.


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From This Author Jeffrey Ellis