Dancer Lauren Nicole Blane went into her audition for Marriott Theatre's production of "Shout!" sure she was going to hate the whole musical theater experience.
The Carol Stream resident tried out to a mega mix of Petula Clark's hit "Downtown" -- one of the songs in "Shout!" -- and "had a blast."
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"Shout!"Location: Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, (847) 634-0200 or marriotttheatre.com
Showtimes: 1 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 4:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday through Aug. 14
Tickets: $40-$48; dinner packages available
"The atmosphere in the room was so positive," Blane laughs. "I left the audition thinking I have to be in this show!"
She is now. And a few weeks into the show's run, Blane is still having a blast. She is enjoying the fact that the dancers in "Shout!" also play characters.
That's a big change from the kind of dance she's been doing since she was small.
"I started dancing when I was 3," Blane explains. "I went to a little place in Glen Ellyn called Dance Dance Dance. My parents put me in classes because I seemed kind of hard-wired to dance."
And she was. As she got older, Blane's interest in dance just grew and grew, from classes to competitive dance at Palmer's School of Dance and Gym Arts, to intensive training starting in the 8th grade at Faubourg Ballet Academy's Ballet Camp.
"In the summers, we would go from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., sometimes taking two to three classes a day," Blane says. "We gave up our summers, our holidays, our weekends. You have to love it to do that. And have to want to do it forever."
In high school at Glenbard West, she was part of the dance team, but she did not go the drama kid's route of being in every school play and musical.
"I was told dancers don't get normal high school experiences," Blane says, "so I purposely worked to be part of high school. I was the editor of the yearbook. I ended up being homecoming queen. I didn't want to be a one trick."
Even in dance, Blane is in no way a one-trick pony. She picked her college dance program at Grand Valley State University specifically because they didn't force dancers to choose. "They emphasize all styles of dance," Blane says.
After she graduated in 2010, it was Blane's drive to diversify that lead her to audition for "Shout!" -- a dance and musical revue featuring pop hits from the 1960s.
While Blane hopes to do more music theater down the road, this may not happen for a while. She recently learned she has been accepted into Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago's Second Company.
Until then, the best place to see this young dancer is at Marriott Theatre.
"Live theater is a whole different world from dance concerts," Blane says. "You have to have so much energy to do the same show every night -- eight shows a week. It's been great, but it is a whole different energy. Normally, in a dance concert, you do two or three shows, and then you have to learn something new."