I'm Lauren Villegas—my last name makes you say YAY! right in the middle of it.

Where I'm at:

I'm a singer/actor/dancer living in NYC.

I'm also an educator, runner, activist, and crazy dog lady.

My two adorably neurotic rescue mutts (named Pixel and Bowie) show up once in a while on a carefully curated Instagram account I run called Derpy Dog Daily.

I run long distances for fun and also to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I contribute some writing to the awesome online magazine Stage & Candor.

I founded Project Am I Right to encourage all actors to be empathetic and aware allies.

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How I got here:

I'm first generation Colombian-American and I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My favorite early gigs were on stage the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica and then at The Hamilton High School Academy of Music.

Leaving sunny surfing weather behind me, I studied Opera Performance and American Studies at Northwestern University--with a quick study break in Salzburg to bone up my German. Much to my mom's embarrassment, I may speak German better than I speak Spanish. Oops.

Upon finishing my degree, I built a career in theaters all around Chicagoland while I taught music and theater at Holy Trinity High School.

As an ensemble member with Teatro Luna I fell in love with developing new work--particularly community-built theatre. I worked with Teatro Luna founders Tanya Saracho and Coya Paz as a music director, assistant director, stage manager, writer, and performer.

Besides my work with Teatro Luna, I built a resume full of musical theater, earning a reputation for my work ethic, musicianship, vocal range and versatility--everything from operatic soprano coloratura, to pop-rock high belt with a strong, warm lower register. Along the way I joined Actors' Equity and received a Broadway World nomination for best leading actress in a musical as Grizabella in Cats at The Paramount Theatre.

I've done some freelance dramaturgy and, once in a while, I write jokes. Sometimes, I stand up in front of people and tell my jokes in a sort of stand up comedy routine, if you will. Sometimes, people even laugh.

When I'm not doing all that stuff, I read super nerdy fantasy books, watch Star Wars (again), travel with my awesome husband, and work on recreating my abuela's perfect arepas.