Lara is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We first met her and husband Robbie last year when they performed in Spamalot. Here’s what she has to say about Actorsingers and her role as choreographer in Singin’ in the Rain.
What compelled you to want to work on this particular show? Listening to music from this show makes me spontaneously smile and drop whatever I'm doing to start dancing.
What do you get from theater that you don’t get from anything else you do? Theater gives me the most exhilarating adrenaline rush. While choreographing the production, I have loved the feeling of my brain being ripe with ideas, and then weaving these ideas together into a creative vision that will make both the performers and the audience feel something. For this production in particular, I'm usually aiming for giddy happiness explosions.
What was the most challenging part of bringing your craft to life for this show? Making sure that performers don't accidentally poke each other’s eyes out with their umbrellas or fall into the orchestra pit - it gets jam-packed when there are 35 people onstage!
What are the 2-3 most interesting/noteworthy factoids about this production as it relates to your craft? The diversity of dance styles in this show is noteworthy, including tap, Charleston, smooth jazz, ballroom, acrobatics and slapstick physical comedy. As a choreographer, I've enjoyed researching 1920s-style movement through many hours of YouTube videos and creating movement that reflects these dynamics. Ever since I signed onto the show in September, I've been having these ideas pop into my head at all times of the day; while cooking eggs, drinking a cup of coffee, walking down the hall at work and even in the shower. In the process I've learned some important lessons, like the fact that my home ceilings are too low to dance inside with an umbrella and that it is very dangerous to tap dance in flip flops while holding a cup of coffee.
Who or what inspired you to be involved in theater? My mom inspired me to dance when I was a little girl. She was a dancer, too, so she was pretty thrilled when I really took to dance. Growing up I was primarily a ballerina, and also trained in jazz, tap and modern. Most recently, I danced with Urbanity, a contemporary dance company in Boston. Although I've always loved musicals, I wasn't involved in any musical theater myself until last year when I performed with the Actorsingers in Spamalot and choreographed Damn Yankees at a local high school. I'm embracing musical theater in this new chapter of my life and thoroughly enjoying the challenge - my goodness, it is difficult to sing and dance at the same time!
What do you like best about being involved in Community Theater? The COMMUNITY. When my husband and I moved to New Hampshire from Boston we didn't know anyone in the area. This inspired me to start "Operation Make Friends in NH," and together we auditioned for Actorsingers. I can say that our operation was immensely successful. I love how the Actorsingers community is multi-generational and inspires people to contribute their many talents create to create shows that are so much more than the sum of their parts.
What do you do for fun and work when you aren’t working in the theater? I teach Anatomy and Physiology and Nutrition courses at Manchester Community College. Earlier this year, my husband Robbie and I launched a nutrition YouTube channel called Nourishable. Robbie is passionate about the audio and visual production to create a platform for me to share my expertise gained from my PhD in nutrition. Our goal is to create a source for accurate nutrition information in bite-size pieces to empower everyone to lead healthy lifestyles. Check it out at nourishable.tv. I also enjoy running marathons and going on cross-continent adventures with Robbie and our giant poodle in our trailer.
Is there anything else about this production that you feel is interesting? This is my first time choreographing for Actorsingers and I'm having a blast!
Photo credit: Eli Akerstein, Urbanity Dance
Enjoy SINGIN' IN THE RAIN May 12 - 14, 2017 ! Tickets available here !