Thursday, March 22, 2018

Laura Loves NY - Snow Day!!!!

It's been a leonine March. "In like a lion, out like a lamb," they say, but March is almost over, and we're seeing lots of stormy weather.

Still, there's something about a Snow Day that just totally appeals to me. I grew up in the CA desert, so snow always seems so magical.

Adding Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett to my groove helped me get through the pelting icicles.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Making Movies

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with my grandpa's movie camera. My mom inherited it, and my Dad started using it to film home movies. Me being an actor, I kept asking if we could "make REAL movies" with it, but film was expensive so I only got to make one. It was called, "The Seasons," and it starred me and my neighborhood friends, including Kara Herold, who went on to make documentaries about the female experience.

Flash forward to this February when I did a 6 day film challenge led by Ela Thier, who teaches at the Independent Film School. I had a BLAST! Each day had a different focal point, and it made me look at my world - and hear it! - with different eyes and ears. It also gave me a chance to explore editing and all the cool things I can do with iMovie. My final film, incidentally, was called, The Seasons:

I enjoyed this so much that I created a YouTube channel called, Laura Loves NY.  I'm a Southern CA girl who's always loved NY, so I've decided to show you around "my" New York.

Last month, I visited The City Bakery, which does a yummy hot chocolate fest in February:

And I'm going to keep on running around the island. If there's any place you'd like to see, let me know!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Strange Days

How is February almost over? This year has been flying! Between visits to CA, recording a podcast in NJ, catching the tail end of the Women's March in NY (because I was recording a podcast in NJ), and running around Manhattan doing a short film challenge, it's been a busy, creative time!

It's also been heart-breaking, seeing what happened in Parkland, FLA. My heart catches in my throat every time I think of it, and I look at those kids who are stepping up and speaking out, and I admire their undeniable bravery.

It makes me look at the world with wonder and appreciate every moment. I hope you do too.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Looking back to look ahead

My friend, Tina, always reminds me to take a look at what I've accomplished over the year, and this one has been lush with artistic adventures and financial rewards. I am very thankful, especially since some of these gigs have already propelled me into new bookings for 2018.

It all started with Dear Evan Hansen. My friend, Wendy, was bringing her family to the city for the first time, and asked if I'd like to go to a show with them. "Of course!" I said. And she asked for recommendations, so I sent her some info about Dear Evan Hansen. This was at the start of the New Year, so it hadn't become as difficult to get to tickets. Well, Wendy knew one of the actresses in it:  Kristolyn Lloyd, who played Alana, so that sealed the deal!

In the midst of this, I was called in for Truvy in Steel Magnolias for Stomping Ground Theatre Company in NYC. When I got the callback, I had to ask to leave early so I could make the 7 PM curtain for Dear Evan Hansen. The director, Angela Shultz, was fantastically understanding, as she was going to see the show the week after callbacks. So I did my scene and then dashed off to the theatre.

After seeing Dear Evan Hansen, which was amazing, we went backstage and then onstage to meet Kristolyn. She was marvelous, and Wendy told her how I was in callbacks for Steel Magnolias, so we were all in the biz! It was an incredible night, to say the least.

And I booked Steel Magnolias. :)

After that, the year flew! I did an interview with Indie Activity, guest-starred on The Mike Jones Show, made my debut at Signature Theatre, one of my favorite Off Broadway theatres. I got to revisit Pat the Park Ranger for a professional recording of The Park Ranger song from Sasquatched the Musical! for composers Darg & Rayne. And I revisited The Singing Nun for producer George DeMarco's birthday concert!

I also re-teamed with Kristen Penner and Lorelei MacKenzie, writers of Pageant Princess, for a reading of a much more serious pop musical about identity called, "Pieces." I got to sing, "Move On," from Sunday in the Park with George for Stomping Ground's cabaret, Perspectives, and I was called back 3 times and put "on avail" for a commercial! Woo!

I booked the role of Joey in the web series, Human Telegraphs (coming out next year), played Linus' therapist in It's The Pumpkin Part 2 by the fabulous playwright, Joe Gulla, and started filming fun bits and pieces with sketch friends.

My most recent project is, Laura Loves NY, which was inspired by my friend, Tina, who said she wanted to see some of my adventures in the city. I recently filmed with PLANT star, Liz Days (Plant The Second Coming is on Amazon!), and she showed me around Bryant Park. Liz is hilarious, and I can't wait to go adventuring with her and many other Manhattanites in 2018!

Looking forward to the next adventure! I already have some gigs in the hopper, so there's good things coming!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

A long time ago....

... in a desert town far, far away, I grew up wielding light sabers and traveling in imaginary spaceships with my cat, Spookie, who reluctantly filled the furry slippers of a Wookie.

I'll always be glad my dad was a sci-fi nut and took our family to the drive-in to see Star Wars that Summer of '77. At $2 a car, we went and saw this movie to the point where I could quote it. I even got the record and jammies that Christmas:

So every time a new episode comes out for Star Wars, that 8 year old version of me does a happy dance and gets ready to join the battle of Good vs. Evil.

May The Force be with you. Always.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Terrific Teams

Last weekend, I filmed a sketch with the fabulous Wayne Henry, whom I've worked with for several years. He brought me on board with this wonderful cast, all of whom were deliciously talented. We spent most of the shoot cracking each other up! And afterwards, we were all abuzz with ideas and stories about Art and The Biz.

This is something I just LOVE, the energy that bubbles up amongst artists when they're in the groove and creating something as a team.

I've been so lucky to do a tremendous amount of that this year, working with terrific teams to create wonderful productions for the stage and on various screens.

It started with Steel Magnolias at Stomping Ground Theatre Company:

The co-founders, Angela Shultz and Melissa Harlow, the crew, the team spirit of SGT was simply amazing! It was everything theatre should be.

Then I re-teamed with Darg and Rayne for The Pound at the Signature Theatre. SO excited to have had my debut at this amazing Off Broadway theatre!

We also managed to record my big Park Ranger song from Sasquatched The Musical

Then I joined my Pageant Princess creators, Lorelei McKenzie and Kristen Penner, for a reading of the new pop musical, Pieces:

I went back to Stomping Ground Theatre Company to sing for their cabaret, Perspectives:

And I just wrapped filming with the incredible team behind Human Telegraphs:

 What a crew!

I feel so thankful to have worked with so many talented people this year, and I'm grateful they've invited me into their wonderful worlds, telling unique stories with heart and humor!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Human Telegraphs

A few weeks ago, I guest-starred on this delightful new web series called, Human Telegraphs.

It's a charming show about 3 friends who decide to create an in-person messaging service, and they find themselves conveying very personal messages: everything from "I'm leaving you" to "You shoulda put a ring on it!" The humor is delicious, and the thing that really gets me is the HEART behind each story. 

Created by Three Bright Lights Productions - Kayla Conroy, Rachel Kay Barclay, and Fern Lim - these ladies are GO-GETTERS! I met them in May when they had me in to read for a few characters,  and then they contacted me in October to play "Joey," a whacky real estate gal from Brooklyn.

I had so much fun, working and playing with these gals! I'm in episode 4: "H Team vs. the Pemberlies"

The crew was mainly women - Samantha Pyra was the Cinematographer - but there were some marvelous men on set as well, particularly Michael Parker Kozak on Sound.

As our Script Supervisor, Alia Azamat said, "Professionalism has no gender."

"Only got a New York minute?" Check out the trailer here: