DIVA TALK: A Chat With A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder Star Lauren Worsham

By Andrew Gans
07 Feb 2014

Worsham in A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Question: What was your first professional job?
Lauren Worsham: I did theatre in Austin. There was a wonderful company there called Broadway Texas, and before that it was Austin Musical Theater. They did a lot of professional things and brought people in, New York actors to play the leads, and I started doing chorus roles. They brought me back my sophomore year in Yale to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, which we toured around Texas a little bit. And, I was with John Bolton, Paul Ainsley…. It was just a fantastic company. So, at a young age, I was able to meet people who did that for a living, New York theatre actors.

Question: When did you get to New York?
Lauren Worsham: I moved to New York right after I graduated, which was in 2005. I came here and worked four jobs — I was a line monitor at Spamalot. I would get there at 7 AM and tell people, “Standing-room tickets are only $29, you can only buy two at a time, you need an ID." [Laughs.] I did that, so I saw Spamalot a lot. I also played fake patients for medical schools. And then I sang for Bill Finn, who teaches at the Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, and he asked me to audition for Spelling Bee and then I booked the tour, and I guess that was my first big job.

Question: How and when did you get involved with Gentleman’s Guide?
Lauren Worsham: I did a production of Carnival at the Goodspeed Opera House — it must have been three-and-a-half years ago — that Darko [Tresnjak] directed, and it was fantastic, and we had a great time. And, about a year-and-a-half ago, or two years now, he called me and said, “Hey, we’re doing this workshop of a musical with the artistic director of Hartford Stage, and I really want you to play this role of Phoebe." So I came out, and we were in Hartford doing the workshop. The other people who are carryovers from that are Lisa O’Hare, who plays Sibella; Price Waldman, who is in the ensemble; and, of course, Jefferson. And, we had a great time. Unfortunately I was unable to do the out-of-town thing because of scheduling — I wasn’t even able to go in for it because I was doing Turn of the Screw at the NYC Opera and Dog Days, which is another opera piece. Then when they came back, they wanted me to come back in, and now I’m in the show. [Laughs.]

Question: What was your first night on Broadway like? How did it live up to what you expected it to be or how was it different? 
Lauren Worsham: I’d say, honestly, the biggest moment for me was not even the first night on Broadway, but walking into the theatre for the first time and realizing that I was in a Broadway theatre and Jordan Roth introducing everybody in the theatre and saying, "Welcome to your new home." That was a very, very different feeling than I’ve ever felt before. I started crying a little, I’m not gonna lie. … It's been a long journey of wanting this for a really long time. And, the first preview was insane because it was mostly friends. It was a crazy house, just floating on air. And then it’s a job, and you’re doing theatre, it’s just it’s in New York. The crazy thing is that more people than have ever come to see me in anything else in New York [have come to see me in this]. People are just coming out of the woodwork because, I guess, it’s just such higher profile. My English teacher from sixth grade showed up, which blew my mind. Things like that. It’s still pretty special to be able to work on Broadway and go to the theatre. It really feels like a little family.

Question: How would you describe Phoebe?
Lauren Worsham: I would describe Phoebe as a beautiful, delicate doll with a quirky, bizarre center. [Laughs.] She seems just like a delicate perfume, a breath of fresh air, and then she’s obsessed with poverty and working men. She finds that very sexy, and she also is, at the very end – I don’t want to give it away – but she accepts that her husband may not be that perfect man that she thought he was.