Lauren Molina: Award-winning Broadway Actress, Musician and Singer-Songwriter
Lauren Molina made her mark on Broadway starring as the cello-playing Johanna in the critically acclaimed actor-musician revival of John Doyle’s Sweeney Todd starring Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris. Described as a “sweet-voiced soprano who…plays the cello beautifully” by The New York Times, and “perfect as Johanna” by the Wall Street Journal. She received the Independent Reviewers of New England Award for Best Supporting Actress while performing on the first national tour, and was named as one of the celebrated “30 Under 30″ featured on Broadwayspace.com.
She originated the role of Regina in the hit 80′s rock musical Rock of Ages Off-Broadway, when it began at New World Stages and transferred with the production to Broadway.
(Taken from her official website…for more about her you can visit her site)
Jessica Gilbert: Lauren, I’m absolutely so delighted to have you in TSM, and thank you very much for taking time to do an interview for the magazine.
Lauren Molina: Thanks for thinking of me!
Jessica Gilbert: What inspired you to get into acting and music?
Lauren Molina: I’ve always been drawn to performing. I grew up in a house where my dad was the principal bassist with the Detroit Symphony and my mother was a dancer. It’s in my blood. Music and acting came naturally and it was always so fun.
Jessica Gilbert: For almost two years you performed as Regina in Rock of Ages on/off Broadway. I feel fortunate to say that I saw you in it off Broadway, and since seeing it have turned into a ROA Fanatic! 🙂 What was your experience like working on the show? And can you recall the funniest outtake on the set of ROA?
Lauren Molina: I loved working on ROA with such fiercely talented comedians, singers and dancers. It was such a creatively, inspiring show that I started a backstage mocumentary web series with Mitch Jarvis and Wesley Taylor called ROA Productions. One of my all-time favorite moments was during the final lift in “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” I was supposed to do a cartwheel up Wesley Taylor’s leg into a T-shaped lift. Something went wrong and instead of dropping me, Wes held me sideways and spun me like an ice skater. We laughed so hard and neither of us could keep from breaking on stage.
Jessica Gilbert: How do you prepare for a role?
Lauren Molina: Every role is different. If I’m originating a part, I figure out who she is, where she’s from, what her speed and voice will be, and usually in the rehearsal period I try a few different approaches to a character. If it’s a revival of a show, I listen to the original cast album once, then never listen again so I can make my own choices about who the character is. I don’t like to start a show with too many preconceptions of a character because it often changes.
Lauren Molina: I started piano lessons when I was four, cello lessons when I was eight, and I sang my whole life. In high school I taught myself guitar, and it wasn’t until I did Sweeney Todd that I picked up a ukulele. I love playing as many instruments as possible. I went to the University of Michigan and majored in musical theatre performance.
Jessica Gilbert: You’ve released two albums – one in 2007 called Doo-Be-Doo and Sea For Two. Tell us a little about them. Do you have a favorite song you recorded?
Lauren Molina: I had a blast recording my first albums. It was such a specific time in my life and those songs all bring me back. I can’t pick a favorite, but I do like “Sky and the Sea” and it was featured on the TV show Parenthood.
Jessica Gilbert: Who are some performers you admire and look up to?
Lauren Molina: I love Laura Benanti and Audra McDonald. I think they both epitomize class, kindness, intelligence and beauty. Their talent is a given. I admire people who don’t let success change who they are as a person.
Jessica Gilbert: You’re part of a wit-rock comedy pop duo known as The Skivvies. Tell us about the formation of the group. Do you have a favorite cover?
Lauren Molina: The Skivvies began as me and my best friend, Nick Cearley wanted to put a fun cover song on YouTube. I couldn’t decide what to wear for the video, so Nick suggested I just perform in my underwear. I thought…well, we are doing a musically stripped down version of the song. If we don’t comment on the fact that we aren’t wearing clothes, that could be funny. My boyfriend came up with the name “The Skivvies.” We made a few more videos, then began playing at great venues like 54 Below, The Highline Ballroom and Joes Pub last year. I love the “Groovy Medley” but it’s hard to pick a favorite.
Jessica Gilbert: What are you currently doing now?
Lauren Molina: I just finished a production of The Rocky Horror Show at the Bucks County Playhouse. I played Janet, it was wild.
Jessica Gilbert: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
Lauren Molina: That’s easy. World peace. There is so much unnecessary hate, violence and greed out there. It’s a travesty that rational peacemaking can’t be achieved.
Jessica Gilbert: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
Lauren Molina: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” – Einstein
Jessica Gilbert: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Lauren Molina: Follow me on Twitter Instagram at lomo212, and on Facebook. My website: www.Laurenmolina.com
Jessica Gilbert: Thanks again for doing this interview and wish you the best of luck in all you do in the future.