Lauren Van Hemert
I’m a graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, where I majored in Journalism with a minor in Theater. Prior to graduation, I hosted my 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, my love of musicals started at the age of six when my dad took me to Radio City Music Hall to see a revival of the movie The Sound of Music. Years later, he took me back to New York to see the revival of Oklahoma, The Music Man starring Dick Van Dyke, and Peter Pan, starring Sandy Duncan, and I was hooked. I currently live in Cary, North Carolina with my husband and two children, where I’ve been an advocate for arts education in the schools and sensory-friendly performances and inclusive experiences. I’m a proud member of the American Theatre Critics Association, as well as the Contributing Editor for Broadway World Raleigh and a contributor to Chicago on Stage (USA on Stage).
- First Interview: Charles Honi Coles. I know I’m dating myself because he passed away in 1992, but he came to Miami with Tommy Tune in My One and Only, and I interviewed him for my show on WDNA. I also interviewed Emilio Estefan (again dating myself) in 1987, just after The Miami Sound Machine signed on with Pepsi to do a commercial.
- First Show Album: Annie. My Aunt Martha played it for me and I’ve been hooked on show tunes ever since.
- Hidden Talent: I sing (although these days only in the shower) and I played competitive piano up until I was about 15.
I moved to Raleigh with my family just over two decades ago, and I have loved my life in the Triangle. When my children were younger, we made the rounds of family-fun events at the museums as well as kept busy with hockey, gymnastics and Irish dance. Now, the kids are in college (Go Pack!), one has graduated (Elon), and I have the opportunity to pursue other interests, like theater. I majored in history and English, also receiving advanced degrees in both, and held jobs where I wrote for various in-house publications. I’m excited to be a part of RDU On Stage and look forward to sharing my reflections on our dynamic theater community.
- My very first theatre experience was seeing a performance at Kenyon College (Ohio) of T.S. Elliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. While only a high school senior, I found the drama riveting, not to mention swooning over the actor who played the passionate King Henry IV.
- I had a minor role in a high school play where a fellow actor pranked me by putting extra pepper in a sandwich I had to take a bite of in a scene.
- My bucket list includes seeing a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre as well as sipping Guinness in a Dublin pub.