Lauren Bell Nagy, Company Member
IVRT: Tell me how you first got involved with IVRT
LBN: Back in 2007, I met the entire Minano family when Frank and Hope Kaufman cast me as Belle in “A Christmas Carol” (Lewis Family Playhouse). I think Katherine was only up to my waist! After that, I auditioned for the newly re-opened IVRT’s production of “A Man Who Came to Dinner”, which was the first production of their partnership with the Candlelight Pavilion.
IVRT: What do you wish other people knew about IVRT?
LBN: They truly enjoy working hard to give you something to enjoy and/or think about. We don’t just do this to put ourselves on stage, we do this because we want to invite you into something. For instance, while rehearsing for The Diary of Anne Frank, not only did the entire cast (with their families) spend an afternoon at the Holocaust Museum, every single cast member had one or two biographies next to their script throughout rehearsal. The purpose of each production—whether to make you laugh or to make you ponder—is quite important to IVRT casts and production members.
IVRT: Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working with IVRT?
LBN: Goodness! Well, most of these folks I actually met at the Lewis Family Playhouse, but have been in numerous IVRT productions with. Michael Buczynski (4-time IVRT cast mate), is the sort of cast mate that will give 110% to every role and it was my honour to turn him into an ass in 2014’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you’re nice to Bobby Collins, he and his wife just might teach your sound guy fiancé to dance in time for your wedding. It’s oft said that one should never, ever pass up on the generous Mark McKenzie’s chocolate chip cookies. And though he be prolific, Ron Hastings is not one to back down from a playful trolling from his stage-daughter (2015’s The Diary of Anne Frank). If you’re going to have the same stage mother twice, it might as well be the elegant and sweet Jill Gerber (2010 & 2015). My whack-a-doodle stage husband, Oscar Gubelman (2010’s You Can’t Take It With You) makes a mighty fine road trip karaoke partner. Both Erika Jenko (2010) and Valorie Lohman (2015) have proven to be marvelous stage sisters. Eddie Wantland and Michael Glenny (2008’s A Man Who Came to Dinner) definitely don’t underestimate a girl with a paintball gun. And while we didn’t meet here, what better company than IVRT for dear friend Mitch Burke and I to mark our 15th production together as King and Jester of the Fairies?
IVRT: What might others be surprised to know about you?
LBN: When I was 24 years-old, I was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (more properly referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorder). I also have a bionic elbow! Come see Steel Magnolias and figure out which one! (Shameless plug, I know).
Lauren Bell Nagy as Puck in IVRT's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." (2014)
IVRT: What would you tell someone who is thinking about pursuing acting?
LBN: A) Pursuing acting and pursuing fame are two completely different things. Those who are most successful at acting truly love the craft for the sake of the craft. You have to love all “levels” of acting to be truly proficient at it. B) Be a good cast mate! Show up on time, have your lines memorized, make friends, and BE KIND. Your success in acting heavily depends on whom you know and if you’re known for being a kind, responsible cast member people—perchance a casting director—will trust you with many more opportunities.
IVRT: What do you think will change about IVRT, or live theatre in general, over the next five years?
LBN: Goodness, change comes slowly to the theatre world (we’re still doing things on a proscenium stage like the ancient Greeks!). Obviously it will be exciting to see the new plays and musicals that come out over the next few years.
IVRT: What’s it like to be an IVRT Company Member?
LBN: Well, it gets easier after the ritual pig slaughter (just kidding!). I know it’s a cliché, but it feels like being part of an extended family. You’re going to have fun at rehearsals, but you’re also going to be put to work and that’s a good feeling! What’s kept me coming back is how much I trust them and the rest of the IVRT Company to provide an enjoyable, healthy work environment to rehearse for quality productions.
IVRT: How would your friends describe you?
LBN: Kind, creative, adventurous, brave, and a bit eccentric. A little over-sensitive, occasionally withdrawn, and often spacey as well. My mother calls me her Absent-Minded Professor and my 5-year old niece thinks I’m “just the best” (I’ll take what I can get!).
IVRT: What do you do when you aren’t acting?
LBN: Work at the Lewis Family Playhouse (my part-time job for the last 10 ½ years), tell stories to the kids at my church, laugh with my sisters, and go to breakfast with my parents. I also draw/cartoon whenever I have a moment, write/create stories, listen to instrumental music (John Williams, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, etc), host geeky game nights with my friends, take an interest in science, and take long walks down MainStreet, U.S.A. with my husband.
Lauren Bell Nagy as Margo Frank in IVRT's "Diary of Anne Frank" (2015)
Lauren Bell Nagy will portray Annelle in IVRT's "Steel Magnolias" October 25-November 8. Tickets HERE.