Omni-directional perfectly describes award-winning Texas star Lauren Worsham, who shines brightly on Broadway, and beyond. Join our social chronicler Rose Betty Williams as she learns more in this up close and personal look at how a star is born.
She is a triple threat. Austin native Lauren Worhsam is an opera singer, rock star and Tony Award nominee. Her band’s cover song is Say You Love Me Like You Mean It and when she sings it, the crowds and critics do. Worsham has a diminutive 5’1” curvaceous frame, yet her stage presence, high energy and glorious voice are huge, winning awards and acclaim everywhere she performs.
Worsham made her Broadway debut last fall in the role of Phoebe D’Ysquith in the Tony Award© -winning A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and won a Tony Award© nomination for her performance.
She moved to New York City in 2005 to work as a professional actress. She’s performed as Olive in the first national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee from 2006 to 2007; Clara in Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza at the Weston Playhouse in 2008; and she starred in Cunegonde at the New York City Opera in 2008. “I’d say the role that has been the absolute most to me is singing Lisa in Royce Vavrek and David Little’s new opera, Dog Days, directed by Robert Woodruff,” said Worsham. “The role was written with me in mind and I am so lucky and excited to be able to reprise the piece twice in 2015. We will be bringing the piece to Texas to Fort Worth Opera in April 2015 before heading to Los Angeles Opera in June.”
Another Opening, Another Show
This busy actress does eight shows a week every week, and on dark nights, she sings with her husband in their rock band Sky-Pony. Worsham said she and her husband Kyle Jarrow started Sky-Pony to create, perform and spend time together. “The band is a crazy mash of theatrical indie-pop. Kyle writes all the music and I help with harmonies and girl-group style choreography. We’ve been well-reviewed by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. We’ve performed at Mercury Lounge, The Knitting Factory, Joe’s Pub, 54 below, Pianos and many other venues around the New York area.”
Worsham met her husband in 2009 at a party in the East Village. “He is a brilliant writer of film, TV, and theater and a musician,” she said. “We fell in love immediately and have been married for three years. Sadly, he is not from Texas, but is from Ithaca, NY where his father is a professor of economics at Cornell University and his mother is a young adult non-fiction author. Oddly enough, both Kyle and I went to Yale University, but he graduated the summer before I matriculated so we missed each other by a hair.”
Her success has been meteoric. Just how did Worsham learn about A Gentleman’s Guide? She had previously been cast by her director Darko Tresnjak in a production of Carnival at the Goodspeed Opera House. After that production he asked her to come in for a workshop of a new piece he was working on and that turned out to be A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. “I was not ultimately available for the out-of-town runs at the Hartford Stage and then The Old Globe, but luckily they asked me to come back to audition when the show moved to Broadway. Long story short, I booked it.”
And the rest, as they say, is show business history. The hit play won the Tony Award© for Best Musical and was nominated for Best Actor, Best Score, Best Book, Best Direction, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Orchestrations and Best Featured Actress…the award for which Worsham was nominated. She thinks A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder presents a new take on the old-fashioned musical. “People just lap it up,” she shares. “The lyrics and book are so clever you could watch the show 100 times and still catch something new. Plus, the tunes are hummable and are really just lovely. Sometimes people want a break from rock music or the belting-out Broadway experience, and our show provides that. “
Some Enchanted Evening
Worsham fondly remembers the 68thannual Tony Awards. She wore an Hervé Léger reddish-orange dress with a plunging neckline. “Immediately after winning, the cast, creatives and producers who were in the theatre all came up on stage and we took a group photo,” she recalls. “Then we were whisked away to another press room for more photos. Finally, we headed to the after-party. Our producers rented out the Summer Garden at Rockefeller Center where it is the ice skating rink in the winter. So there we were, under the stars, in the middle of Rockefeller Center, just dancing the night away. It was pure euphoria.”
“Luckily, my parents were in town visiting and it was also their 35th wedding anniversary the same day as the awards. They partied with my husband and me until the wee hours and after the party we attended a party at the Carlyle Hotel, hosted by our press representatives, O&M. The party was surreal…every room had a piano player softly playing the standards. It was dimly lit and went on for many rooms and floors. Around 3AM a waiter started passing out hot ham and cheese omelets. Then we randomly stumbled upon a room set out for high tea, where a waiter poured hot water for tea upon a wave of the finger. It really felt like we’d stepped through the looking glass. We finally got home around 5AM. It was a wonderful night.”
Worsham plans to stay with the A Gentleman’s Guide through this fall and after that, many exciting concerts are in the works. “I will be singing the part of Magnolia alongside Vanessa Williams as Julie in the NY Philharmonic concert staging of Show Boat in November,” she shares. “I’ll also be singing with the Collegiate Chorale, with the Prototype Festival, and with New York Festival of Song and Dog Days, in Fort Worth and LA. In addition to all of that, my band Sky-Pony will be performing gigs probably once a month.”
Day By Day
Every performer has a hero to model and Worsham is no different. She admires Kelli O’Hara, Audra McDonald and Jefferson Mays, among others, but she always tries to be her best self, which requires discipline. “A typical day on the least stressful end consists of my waking up around 9:30AM and going for a run, or doing yoga. I then make breakfast and spritz around the house cleaning up. Around 4PM., I’ll warm up, and around 6PM.. I will head to the theatre, arriving at 7PM. for an 8PM. show. One of the most hectic days I’ve ever had consisted of waking up at 8AM, warming up at 11AM., heading to theatre at noon for a 2PM. show, doing a matinee, then rehearsing in between shows with my band, finally heading back to the theatre for an 8PM performance, which ends at 10:30PM. After getting out of hair and makeup and signing autographs, I usually get home at around 11:30PM. and I am in bed after midnight. Wash, rinse, repeat.”
Regarding her diet, she said, “I try to sing and speak healthily with supported breath and I try to avoid acid reflux foods, the bane of most singers. I don’t drink coffee or red wine and sadly, I avoid spicy foods and alcohol.”
Worsham always looks forward to her return visits to Texas. ”I miss tacos and my parents and Texas in general.” Her parents, Dennis and Belinda Worsham, reside in Austin, while her singer-songwriter brother, Parker Ainsworth, lives in Los Angeles. Her Texas ties run deep. She graduated from Westlake High School in 2001, ranked number three in her class. “I had many wonderful teachers starting with Ms. Wheeler in 5th grade who encouraged my extroverted personality and Mr. Erck, my choir teacher through all of middle school who helped me to fall in love with music,” she states. “In high school, my choir teachers Ms. Couch and Mr. Snouffer helped me channel my voice into more focused training, while Mr. Harlan introduced me to the joys of theater, while my extraordinary teachers Mr. Harper and Doctora Garza, who taught physics and Spanish, respectively, instilled in me a sense of work ethic, confidence and ambition.”
The Sound Of Music
Lauren Worsham’s work ethic and creative abilities are showcased on stage with her acting and singing, as well as with The Coterie, a group she co-founded with librettist Royce Vavrek six years ago to explore the importance of narrative story telling in opera and music theatre. She said she does not have one preference of style. “I love all music and all kinds of storytelling. That informs the direction I want my career to keep going…omni-directional.”
For more information on Lauren Worsham, go to Laurenworsham.com and to watch Sky-Pony’s official music video of Say You Love Me Like You Mean It visit Youtube.com