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Cats On Stage at the Saroyan: Q & A With Cast Member Lauren Louis

IN THE October 20 ISSUE

FROM THE 2021 Articles,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andTheatre
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by Lorie Lewis Ham

Theatre is back again at the Saroyan Theatre in Fresno! The musical Cats will be performing there on October 26 and 27. Recently, we had the chance to chat with cast member Lauren Louis who plays Demeter.

KRL: Where are you from?

Lauren: I’m from California! Raised in Northern California and moved on down to Southern Cali for college. I fell in love with it, so I didn’t end up leaving!

KRL: When did you first become interested in acting?

Lauren: I think I became interested in acting the minute I stepped onstage. Any time I made a mistake or had trouble with certain parts of dances, I always relied on my acting because I knew it was a strength of mine and enjoyed at the same time! I was in my local community’s production of The Nutcracker as Clara and was immediately bit by the acting bug!

Lauren Louis

KRL: Was that the first role you ever played?

Lauren: The first dance role I ever played was Clara in The Nutcracker! The first musical role I ever played was Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz!

KRL: What are some of the roles you have played professionally?

Lauren: I’ve played Diana Morales in A Chorus Line, as well as Anita and Maria in different professional regional productions of West Side Story. Prior to the pandemic, I was set to play Ella in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella as well as Johanna in Sweeney Todd at two other professional theatres in Los Angeles. I also worked professionally as a principal vocalist & dance swing at the Disneyland Resort. I played Pocahontas in Mickey and the Magical Map, Elena of Avalor in Elena’s Musical Grand Arrival, and many more!

KRL: Why did you want to play this role?

Lauren: Cats was the first professional musical I ever saw, and I fell in love with all the characters! Demeter seemed to be the perfect storm of acting, singing, and dancing. So when the casting call came out, she was the one I had an affinity towards. I’ve always loved Grizabella’s journey throughout the show, and I am so lucky to be able to understudy that character, as well.

KRL: Were you a big fan of Cats before getting this role?

Lauren: Oh absolutely! My older sisters and I would run the 1998 VHS taping of the live London production dry as we watched it all together. I would sit in front of the TV stretching, hoping one day being able to do what they do.

KRL: What do you like best about playing this role?

Lauren: I absolutely love it. Demeter has quite a history with some of the cats, and their relationships reveal themselves throughout the show. It’s a joy to experience her changes and journey throughout the show each night; there’s always something new.

KRL: What has been the biggest challenge in playing this role?

Lauren: I think the challenge is keeping my dancing up to the level of everything Demeter is required to do in the show. She has some solo vocal parts in the show and a lot of acting moments, but she dances just as much as everyone else.

KRL: What have you done to prepare for this role?

Lauren: I’ve been acting and dancing since I was young and singing since I was about 18. In 2020, I earned my BFA in Musical Theatre. So, I guess I’ve been training for this for most of my life. As soon as I found out that I got these roles, I started going back to vocal lessons, virtually, of course. I began personal training with a friend of mine; stretching every day and beginning to do the work all over again.

Lauren Louis as Demeter, Chelsea Nicole Mitchell as Bombalurina, and the company of the 2021-2022 national tour of CATS

KRL: What do you like best about this show?

Lauren: I love the amount of energy it has, even in the quietest moments. There is always a charge in the air no matter how silent it is onstage. There is constantly something to watch, new relationships being formed, new ideas being found. It is a show that never stops evolving and growing.

KRL: What is a typical day like for you while in this touring show?

Lauren: Wow, that’s kind of a hard question! Some days are harder than others, especially on the days where we travel in the mornings and perform that same night. Those are the days that seem to be the hardest. On double show days, we are often resting in-between shows as much as we possibly can. Single show days that take place in the evening give me the morning and afternoon, so that is always nice! I usually wake up early and go to the gym; I still work with my personal trainer virtually to help prevent injury and keep my strength up amidst the show. I always make sure I get my protein and carbs in right after, then grab my cup of coffee. Some days I run errands, but lately I’ve been tracking my other roles in the show on my time off. And once it’s call-time, I’m off to the show to get pin-curled, then make-up and costume on to do yet another show!

KRL: How has Covid changed how you do a show?

Lauren: We are vaccinated and everyone surrounding us is masked and vaccinated. Performers always walk into the building with masks on to protect everyone. Truly, just added elements of safety.

KRL: Anything else you would like to share?

Lauren: It is truly a joy to be performing in front of a live audience again. For so long we were scared live theatre wouldn’t return, and here we are; gifted with the opportunity to tell stories onstage again.

Cats performs in Fresno October 26 and 27 at the Saroyan Theatre. Tickets can be purchased on Ticketmaster and you can get more info on the Broadway Fresno website.

You can find more theatre articles, and other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section.

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can check the podcast out on Apple Podcasts and Google Play, and also on podbean.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet. Lorie’s brand new mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!

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