Well, at least, I used to be an actor. Some of you may know me as Lyric Arts' Managing Director, but long before I started working here, I was an actor.
It all started for me at about the age of three when my mom would put me on the coffee table and I would sing for guests and family members. I started dancing (tap, ballet, and jazz) at six years old and spent hours in my bed re-enacting scenes from my favorite television shows before falling asleep (dramatic fainting scenes were my favorite).
I was on stage every time I had an opportunity...elementary school musicals, school choirs and bands, junior high school productions, senior high school musicals and plays.
When I entered college, my dream was to major in both Theater and Vocal Performance. However, Numerical and Computational Mathematics was a much more logical and marketable choice. I loaded up on courses in Mathematics and Computer Science, but couldn't resist taking "Introduction to Theater," "Acting for Beginners," "Theatre History," and "Dramatic Theory." I graduated with a degree in English, a minor in Mathematics, and an even deeper love of the performing arts.
Throughout my college years, in addition to school and working as the Assistant Marketing Director for the University's Performing Arts Center, I was still involved in theater whenever I had the chance...acting at the community theater and directing and choreographing at local high schools. When I graduated from college, I knew that I didn't want to be a professional actor (I wanted a more stable and secure future for myself), but I knew that no matter where I went and what I did, I wanted to be sure that music and theater were never far from my grasp.
I moved to London after college, moved home, took a job in administration with the Symphony Orchestra, fell into a job in radio as a morning show personality, and was involved in a burgeoning local theater scene. I moved to the Twin Cities, got married (to an actor), worked in corporate media, and had very little time for theater (or much of anything else, for that matter). Eventually, after five years, I stuck my toe back in the water as a choreographer for a local community theater and remembered how much I loved being a part of the entire process of putting a show on stage...from auditions to final performance. The bug had bitten once again.
At about this time I was lucky enough to find a job with Lyric Arts. I was thrilled to find a job that allowed me the opportunity ensure that other performing artists—actors, singers, dancers, directors, choreographers, designers, musicians, etc.—would have a place to create theater in a warm and welcoming environment. Since then, I have given birth to beautiful twin daughters (now six) and have watched Lyric Arts (which I consider my third child) blossom and grow.
After eight (eight?!) years of sitting in my little corner office working on marketing and fundraising and vision and strategy and building Lyric Arts into the best theater it can be, a little voice started squeaking in my head. Even though I spend most of my daily life thinking about creating theater experiences in which others can participate, there was something missing. I'll bet you can guess what it was.
So, I finally found the courage to audition for a role and what better place to do that than at Lyric Arts? Shockingly enough, I was cast as Ellen Pazinski in Over the Tavern.
Tonight is our first read-through, where we read through the script together as a cast for the very first time. I am nervous, I am scared, I am anxious, and I am very excited.
Hi. My name is Laura. I'm an actor. And, I want to take you along on this journey with me.