Q & A with Lauden Baker

Lauden Baker, public relations major, makes his Southern Theatre debut in The Drowsy Chaperone. Having been cast in such plays as Oliver Twist and Barbecuing Hamlet, he will be performing the role of Aldolpho in the upcoming production.

When did you first take interest in theater?

I’ve acted since I was a little kid in church plays, and I’ve loved it since I was in elementary school, maybe even before that.

How long have you been acting and what are some of the performances you have been in?

I started seriously acting probably my freshman year in high school. I’ve been in the non-musical version of Oliver Twist at Stone’s Throw Dinner Theater, Saving Grace, some comedies like Barbecuing Hamlet and You Can’t Get There From Here, and I’ve competed with my school’s drama team at the district level and the state level at College Heights Christian School.

What is your favorite role that you have played, and why?

That’s a good question. Do I have to name just one? I played Bill Sikes in the non-musical version of Oliver Twist, and I liked that because it was the first time I played a character who is completely the opposite of who I am, so I liked it because it was a challenge. And then, I’m not going to lie, Aldolpho really is one of the favorite characters I think I’ve ever played, because there’s no amount of too much with this character. He’s very comedic and I can be as crazy and as out there as I want to be.

What’s it like to play the part of Aldolpho in the upcoming performance of The Drowsy Chaperone?

It’s very fun and very rewarding. I love to make people happy and love to make people smile, so to play a character who carries a lot of comedic weight in the show is very rewarding for me.

What first inspired you to audition for The Drowsy Chaperone?

I had been told by a couple of people who thought I would be good for the show, and I told myself starting out this year at Southern I had to do at least one college play, and I love to sing, I love to act, I love to dance, so doing a musical that combined all three elements just made sense to me.

Do you ever feel nervous when you go into an audition?

When I go into an audition, yes. That’s all part of the process, though; it kind of comes with the territory. You kind of learn how to work through it, but yes, there’s always a little bit of nerves. But nerves are a good thing, I think.

Have you ever had a bad audition in the past?

I’ve never had a blaringly horrible audition. I can’t give you like any terrible stories of when I’ve fallen on my face or made a complete fool of myself, but the nerves are definitely there, for sure.

What kind of roles do you most like to portray on stage?

Good question. I like all types of characters. I like to give myself challenges, but  think overall I like to play characters that really make people feel something, whether that’s a big dramatic pull or that belly-laugh that you’ve been waiting to let out all day. I like to play a character that’s going to get some sort of response from the people or the audience.

What role would you most like to play?

I’ve always kind of wanted to play Link in Hairspray and at some point, I might be a little young, but I want to play the Baker in Into the Woods.

Who are some of your favorite actors/actresses, on stage or in film?

I know for sure, I love, as far as actresses are concerned, and as far as stage is concerned, I recently discovered Sutton Foster, who is brilliant. I love Sutton Foster. And as far as film, I’m a big Emma Stone and Emma Watson fan, and Jennifer Lawrence. I like the ladies. As far as male actors are concerned … I’m a big Jim Carrey fan. I like to laugh and so I like comedians a lot, but I also like actors who are versatile, people who can give me both a comedic interpretation of a character but can also pull at those heart strings, so I think Jim Carrey does a great job of that.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I don’t know if this is exactly your question, but I know that everybody is going through something all the time, and theatre and movies are a place where people can go to escape sort of the reality of life for a little bit and everything’s fine and you don’t have to worry about your personal problems. I can kind of draw from that energy; I like to be a part of the escapism for people. Just making people happy and getting them out of that mundane part of their day or that sad part of their day and trying to lighten them up a little bit.

What do you like to do in your down time?

I exercise a lot. I definitely sing a lot, even when I’m not on stage. Singing is literally a part of who I am. I probably sing more than I talk. And then I definitely have days where I veg out and watch movies and TV and binge eat.