Rehearsal started just yesterday, but Lauren Magee, a promising young student, actor and lady, found a few moments to chat with me about the upcoming production of Hello, Dolly.
CASA: You’ve been performing at Casa since 2010, when you played “Marta” in The Sound of Music. Your Casa credits also include the Apprentice Program’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Sweeney Todd. What’s different about this role from your others?
LAUREN: Playing “Ermengarde” is vastly different than the other shows I’ve been in here at Casa Mañana. In Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, I played a variety of comedic characters; in The Sound of Music, I was a sweet child; and, in Sweeney Todd, I was a creepy zombie person. However, as “Ermengarde,” I am alive and mostly well (she cries a lot, but it’s fun). I have loved the Broadway classics all my life, and I finally get to play my own age again, as I so often play mature women! This role is especially exciting, since this is a comedic character in a classic show with lots of singing and dancing — the things I enjoy most!
CASA: This will be your second time performing alongside Jacquelyn Piro Donovan, the first was in The Sound of Music. Tell us a little about what it’s like working with her.
LAUREN: I was very young when I last worked with Jacqui, so I do not remember much of our interactions; however, one thing I do remember is that she was extremely talented (of course), inclusive, and gracious. I remember when I asked her about her experiences on Broadway, she was very happy to answer my questions. She was so down-to-earth and a true star. I loved every moment with her on and off the stage.
CASA: What excites you most about Hello, Dolly?
LAUREN: I am very excited to be performing with such an amazing cast and crew on this spectacular classic musical comedy — and back on Casa’s stage! I can’t wait to do ballet in the show and pas de deux, since it is not done very often in shows nowadays.
CASA: As a student, you will have performed in two Broadway series shows. What part(s) of your training do you credit for preparing you?
LAUREN: I try to fit in voice and dance lessons throughout the year, and taking classes and master classes at Casa have helped me learn how to prepare for an audition and to feel comfortable in my own skin, while exploring new ways of approaching acting, singing, and dancing. I have had the honor of working with great mentors, especially one who advised “don’t be afraid to take risks and make big choices”. For the most part, though, I just try to stay prepared and focused.
CASA: What is your favorite part about performing?
LAUREN: My favorite part about performing is seeing the show come together through the rehearsal process and then getting to opening night when everyone is so excited and we do the show in front of a full audience for the first time. There is so much energy, and that feeling is so powerful. The cohesiveness and camaraderie of the cast and crew make the show come together. Just sharing the stage with exceptionally talented, professional people is the main reason I love performing at Casa Mañana.
CASA: What advice would you give younger students who want to pursue theatre and perform professionally as a teenager?
LAUREN: I would definitely advise students to continue to take classes, take acting risks, stay positive, and build your resume and relationships. Most importantly, don’t give up on pursuing your dreams. One of my favorite quotes is by the legendary movie star Audrey Hepburn who said, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
CASA: Any last thoughts?
LAUREN: It’s rather remarkable that I was even cast in my first show under The Dome, especially since I almost blew my chance at the start! I was seven years old when I had my first audition at Casa Mañana, and all I knew was that I was supposed to sing a song in a closed room with some people. After singing my song, the nice director asked me if I could return at 7:00 p.m. for a callback. I told him, “I’m sorry, I can’t. I have a sleepover to go to tonight.” When I told my mom about the conversation with the director, she told me I would need to reprioritize and added, “No matter how long it takes or how late it gets, I will take you to the slumber party.” In the end, although it was late, I still got to go to the slumber party, I won the role, and the rest is history!
Hello Dolly will be my 26th production at Casa Mañana since cast in my first show back in 2010, and the thrill never ends. With every show, I have had a blast performing in this iconic theatre with top talent and always look forward to my next role! I am so grateful to all of the people who work at this theatre and who make performing here the greatest joy!
See Lauren in Hello, Dolly! starring Jacquelyn Piro Donovan and David Coffee, September 8-16. Tickets start at only $41. Click here for show information.