Intriguing Person: Spotlight on Lauren Osborne

Young actor shines onstage

Lauren OsborneWITH A NATURAL POISE beyond her years, fresh-faced Lauren Osborne brings the stage to life. The 15-year-old found her calling onstage with her first lead role as Laurey in “Oklahoma!”

“It’s one of my favorite places to be,” said Osborne.

“I have a good feeling — must be the adrenaline!”

“Oklahoma!” was an ideal role for Osborne, according to Jodi Layman, Main Street Youth Theatre artistic director and choreographer.

“Lauren studied ballet with Hilton Head Dance Theatre for years and is a beautiful dancer,” Layman said. “She’s a triple threat — voice, dance, acting — and those are hard to come by. Most of all, she’s a natural. It’s in her eyes! She’s so believable.”

Osborne has become a regular on the Youth Theatre’s stage. She made her acting debut in “Peter Pan.” Most recently, she was cast as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Last summer, she proved herself as the understudy for Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” when she had to go on one night. “It was then she proved she was a star,” Layman said.

There’s an interesting story behind her overnight success. Initially, Osborne had planned to audition for “Peter Pan,” but got cold feet. To her surprise, when she went to dance class, her teacher, John Carlyle, co-founder of Hilton Head Dance Theatre, mentioned that the Youth Theatre needed strong dancers for “Peter Pan.” He encouraged her to audition and, naturally, she made the cut.

But Osborne’s story really begins with Lucille Ball, said her mother.

“In Lauren’s fourth-grade drama class, they watched ‘I Love Lucy’ shows, and Lauren became obsessed,” said Ingrid Osborne. “She then got to be Lucille Ball in the fifth-grade play, and there was no turning back.”

Now a freshman at Hilton Head Island High School, Osborne sings with the high school’s chorus and Out of the Blue choir.

“She’s got that Rodgers and Hammerstein soprano, a beautifully pure and simple sound,” said high school choral director Larry Mercer, who also is the music director at the Youth Theatre. “She’s also a hard worker. She has a very bright future ahead of her.”

Discovering her love for drama, Osborne is dedicated to honing her performing skills.

“I wanted to work hard and get better,” Osborne said. “So, I chose to devote myself to voice lessons with vocal coach Laura Floyd and I joined Simone Griffeth’s acting class. It prepared me and gave me confidence.”

Drawn to the stage, Osborne’s love for the classics is clear.

“I really loved ‘Oklahoma!’ ” she said. “It was a great production, and I got to work with some of my closest friends. We had such a strong cast, it was really well balanced, an even amount of vocal, dialogue and dancing. We were very challenged with complex characters.”

What’s next?

“I’d like to do something in performing arts,” Osborne said. “I’m interested in film acting. I haven’t done much yet, but I need to start thinking about it.”

For now, Osborne remains active in school, chorus and the Youth Theatre.

“She’s really attached to everyone,” said her mother. “It’s her whole life. I don’t have prior knowledge of community theater, but it seems we have something special here.”