TALKING WITH LAUREN ASHLEY ZAKRIN… also known as SANDY
Buzz Extra spoke with Lauren Ashley Zakrin who portrays Sandy in the National Tour of GREASE. Lauren attended Western Michigan University. She also portrayed another famous blonde when she was discovered by MTV for the show Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods.
EXTRA: What made you decide to go into theater?
ZAKRIN: It is something that came upon me in high school. I got the fever for it. It's what I love and what I want to do. I grew up in high school doing theater and shows. Then I went to Western Michigan University for a year to study musical theater performance. Then I got the Legally Blonde tour. I've been pretty lucky so far.
EXTRA: I understand that you were on MTV.
ZAKRIN: Yes, I was 18 and on the MTV show The Search for Elle Woods. I was terrified at the time. I had no knowledge of the business and no experience whatsoever. It made me grow up very quickly before stepping into the real world. It was a great learning tool, a great learning prospect. If I hadn't done it, I wouldn't be where I am now.
EXTRA: You did the national tour of Legally Blonde right before joining GREASE?
ZAKRIN: Yes, I went straight from Legally Blonde to GREASE. I had four days off.
EXTRA: Did you have to audition for GREASE, or did they know of your work in Legally Blonde?
ZAKRIN: I had to audition for GREASE. I went in and did a couple of things, including singing "Hopelessly Devoted to You." I met Jim Jacobs and the casting director. Then they asked me for my final call back to audition with the actor they hired for Danny a year ago, and then that was it, they offered me the role.
EXTRA: This was for the national tour? How long have you been on the road?
ZAKRIN: I have been on the road for about 25 months.
EXTRA: How do you feel about being on the road so long?
ZAKRIN: I like it. I'm young and this is the best time in my life to do it. I get to see the country and see a bunch of different cities and travel. It’s exhausting living out of a suitcase, but it's worth it.
EXTRA: Where have you been?
ZAKRIN: I've been just about everywhere, all the major cities. I'm in Philly now. LA, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC. It's funny because I've already been to these cities with Legally Blonde, so I come back and say, ‘oh I recognize the city and the theater. It's pretty cool.’
EXTRA: Did you know your current Danny, who was also in Legally Blonde?
ZAKRIN: No, I did the National Tour and Josh (Franklin) did it on Broadway. He just came into our company a couple of weeks ago and we hit it off. We're great friends; we have a great chemistry. He's the third Danny I've worked with so far.
EXTRA: Which GREASE group did you belong to in high school?
ZAKRIN: I think I was a drifter because I was a cheerleader and into sports but I also did theater and musicals and was a hard-core choir girl. I never did just one thing.
EXTRA: What was your GREASE moment in high school?
ZAKRIN: Hanging out at the Starbucks. You go to Starbucks and meet everyone in your high school there. I grew up in the suburbs in Michigan
EXTRA: If you had to pick a character from GREASE who you were in high school, who would that be?
ZAKRIN: I would actually say Sandy. I started off very naive and very innocent and new to this world. And in the past two and a half years, I moved out of my house to New York and was on national television. I had to adjust a lot quicker than I ever expected and grow up…morph into a new person, like Sandy does at the end. I've become comfortable with myself and the business, so I kind of think I am Sandy in a way.
EXTRA: What is your favorite 50s fashion?
ZAKRIN: The leather jackets that are still in style today.
EXTRA: What do you do right before you go on?
ZAKRIN: Pop in a cinnamon Listerine strip as my safety blanket.
EXTRA: Anything else Cleveland should know?
ZAKRIN: It is my 21st birthday May 16 in Cleveland, so come out to see GREASE if you're looking for a good time!
Photo by Daniel A. Swalec: Grease Promotional Photos; Lauren Zakrin in Grease.