Lauren Hugh

This might be her big break.

In May, Lauren Hugh, 22, of Chanhassen, and a 2014 Chanhassen High School graduate, received her BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The aspiring actress, who appeared in high school theater and once worked as an assistant at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres summer theater youth camp, is in the Ordway Performing Arts Center's upcoming production of the touring Broadway hit, "Mamma Mia!" July 17 through Aug. 5.

Hugh checks the Minnesota Playlist constantly. "It's one of the best ways to find audition listings and performance opportunities in Minnesota," Hugh said by email. When she saw a posting for "Mamma Mia," she immediately set up an audition. At the time, she was appearing in "Charlotte's Web" at UMD.

On audition day, she did two matinees before driving two and a half hours to audition in St. Paul. "I was definitely running on a lot of adrenaline that day," Hugh said. She was asked to return the next day; did some readings, some dance, and then learned, she got a part in the ensemble.

"I went to this audition mostly to gain experience thinking it would be a pipe dream to actually get cast," Hugh said, "and then I did and now I get to work at one of the most amazing theatres in Minnesota."

Q: What's next for you?

A: The current plan is to move to New York and keep auditioning. I love the Twin Cities, and Minnesota is home to me, but moving to New York is something I promised myself that I'd always do.

Q: What is the most valuable thing you learned from the UMD's theater program? 

A: "You are enough" from my vocal coach and music director, Andy Kust. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that even though I am in the business of acting, I don't need to put on a facade to get a role. Casting directors want you for being you and that special quality you can bring to a show. I think UMD's program is unique because besides the musical theater training, you get an incredible acting foundation. I think that it sets our students apart. Our acting professor, Tom Isbell, teaches us truthful, grounded technique. The program also prepares you for the real world so that you don't get blindsided by the little things like having your resume formatted properly.

Q: Describe your role in "Mamma Mia!"

A: I am in the ensemble and play one of the Greek locals. Rehearsing at the Ordway feels like my past theatrical experiences but amplified ... I feel extremely fortunate each and every day that I get to work here and my job is playing, singing and dancing. Standing on the Ordway stage is incredible and a little intimidating, but I can't wait until all of those seats are filled in that gorgeous theater.


Unsie Zuege is an award-winning multimedia journalist, who enjoys community journalism, bibimbop, Netflix, Trivia Mafia and snuggling tiny dogs, not necessarily in that order.


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