If you were one of the 9.6 million people who watched Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert last Easter, you may have spotted a familiar Rochester Hills face in the ensemble: Lauren Zakrin.
This was Zakrin’s first time doing a live musical on TV, and it was a little crazy.
“It was insane!” she laughed. “Not only are you learning the music and blocking the scenes, but then you have to do camera blocking on the set, which is extremely intricate.”
Even though this was her first time doing that sort of production it wasn’t Zakrin’s first time on TV. In 2008 – when she was a freshman at Western Michigan University – she was part of the MTV reality show, Legally Blonde: The Musical – The Search for Elle Woods.
“It definitely opened a lot of doors for me. I got one of those fluke chances to be a part of that reality show hype,” she said. “I just got my foot in the door in a really lucky way.”
Since then she’s been part of multiple national tours, including Grease, Wicked, and Legally Blonde, and two Broadway musicals, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and Rock of Ages, where she made her Broadway debut in 2014.
Playing Sherrie in Rock of Ages was a dream role come true for her. Zakrin thinks having that happen at such a young age – she was in her early twenties – helped her realize that landing the lead, playing the dream role, isn’t always what’s going to make you feel fulfilled. When asked what her next dream role is, she said that means such a different thing now.
“I work in a business where if you look at the statistics I think it’s less than 10 percent of the actors in my union are working,” she said. “Now, I just feel so fortunate to be one who can regularly work in this business in New York City and pay my bills. I feel grateful to have that and I try not to live in the place of bigger and better.”
As far as future roles, Zakrin – who didn’t get into musical theater until she was in high school – is drawn to roles that have two things, comedy — she’s a big Lucille Ball fan — and complex, strong women who go through the wringer and tell an important message.
The latter is part of the reason why she enjoyed playing Natasha in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 so much.
“Even though she’s only a teenager, she’s intense and she’s intellectual, and she’s courageous, and she also makes some really big mistakes,” Zakrin said. “I think that was the most complex, fulfilling role I’ve played.”
While she isn’t starring in anything currently, she has been doing a lot of developmental work and is involved in a lot of readings. The only one she could discuss was Almost Famous, a musical based off the 2000 movie.
Zakrin has a variety of other passions though, which she said helps keep her sane when going from audition to audition.
“I think it’s important to know that your worth is more than what you hear in the audition room,” she said.
It’s also important to just be a decent human.
“Sometimes no amount of training will make you as talented as someone in dance or singing, but you can always strive to be the nicest person in the room,” Zakrin said. “I think that’s important.”