Byram Hills Grad Lauryn Ciardullo and Broadway to be Honored By Rich Monettti
Republished June 1, 2017 On November 7, 2015 Lauryn Ciardullo was honored in the Bronx at the Carolei Club of Calabria, Italy. Graduating from Byram Hills in 2004, Ciardullo has accumulated an impressive list of credits as a performer and a dancer – the current leaving her that much more light on her feet.
Landing on Broadway as Jasmine in Disney's 2014 hit Aladdin, her magic carpet ride continues and hasn’t exactly kept her contained when the lights go out after each show. Ciardullo performed at the 2014 Tony Awards, The View, Good Morning America and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Live Takeaway in London.
Not missing a beat, only the camera’s lens has been able to put a stop to her step. Ciardullo appeared on the cover of Dance Magazine’s July/August 2014 issue, which is complete with a six page spread on her experience at Aladdin.
Reading like a fairy tale, her passion for the arts also unfolded like a fable. Her mother’s family is from Serra San Bruno, Italy, and her father was born and raised in Carolei, Calabria. He loved to paint and play accordion to his favorite opera records, which had Lauryn growing up listening to Italian opera and classical music.
The inspiration led to study in opera and the Italian language and culture, which formally began in a 4th Grade after school program and continued through high school. Lauryn would go onto receive a BA in Drama Studies from SUNY Purchase, while her romance of the Italian language accompanied her course work.
Off the pages of her curriculum, Ciardullo studied with world renowned Opera singers Shirley Love and Renata Scotto of the Metropolitan Opera, and after performing at a vocal competition at The Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, she received a scholarship to perform opera in Puglia, Italy.
If the seed had not yet been officially planted, the experience left no doubt that performance would be her pursuit. As such, she was invited to study and perform in the Tuscany Music Festival in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, and later took the stage in a solo concert of Italian opera arias on the Costa Cruise Line.
College’s end in Italy had the Armonk raised artist studying classical theater at Commedia dell'arte and her thesis created a one woman show consisting of arias from Puccini, Turandot, Gianni Schicchi and Mozart.
Her world view obviously opened wide, Lauryn hasn’t forgotten where she’s from. Last April, she was involved in a benefit production of the Broadway musical Next To Normal – written and conducted by Byram Hills Alum Tom Kitt and Jason Lofreddo respectively.
Raising $25,000 for the Armonk School District’s Arts Program, giving back is nothing new to her number. Throughout her high school and college career, she was an ambassador with the Hugh O'Brian Youth and continues to teach voice and dance throughout the tri-state area.
Otherwise, between Broadway tours of The Wedding Singer, The Wizard of Oz, A Chorus Line, West Side Story, The Addams Family and The Little Mermaid, she donates her time to organizations such as St. Jude's Children Hospital, Susan G. Komen Cancer Research, Phyllis Newman's Women's Health Initiative and Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS.
BHHS Grad Lauryn Ciardullo Makes Her Broadway Debut By Alice Levine
August 25, 2014 When Byram Hills High School graduate Lauryn Ciardullo got the phone call from her agent with the news that she had just landed a part in the Broadway show Aladdin, she was chatting with her friend in Union Square Park. After jumping up and down and sharing a few screams of joy with her friend, she called her husband to share in the exciting news that she’d soon be appearing on Broadway.
Lauryn’s acting journey began in high school in 2004 when she appeared in Into the Woods on the Byram Hills stage and also participated in the Contemporary Theatre Workshop in Armonk. But unlike some aspiring actresses, Lauryn also devoted herself to dancing in Heather Conway’s company at Armonk Dance and singing opera. She then went off to Ithaca College to pursue her creative interests.
After learning that Ithaca didn’t afford her the diversity of programs she had hoped to pursue, Lauryn transferred to SUNY Purchase. She was not only able to major in drama, but she could also focus on playwriting, directing, dance and music. After graduation she embarked on her journey into the professional acting world.
Lauryn’s first part was the role of Holly in the show, The Wedding Singer, where she toured for four months, performing in a different city each week. “One of the great things about touring is that the other performers become your second family. You live together, eat together and perform together. It becomes a special relationship and keeps you going, while handling a very rigorous schedule,” Lauryn said.
She continued touring, performing in The Wizard of Oz and Chorus Line, among others, where the tours lasted a year. The toughest day of the week was always Monday. Lauryn laughed, “We all called Monday ‘Travel Day Stomach,’ since we would perform on Sunday night and have to get up sometimes at 5:00 Monday morning to leave for the next city. You had to be really careful what you ate and it was pretty exhausting. The toughest part about touring is being apart from your family at home. After five years on the road, I was ready to be home.”
Now that Lauryn is in Aladdin, her home life has become a little more normal. She can spend more time with her husband and stepson, while still performing eight shows a week.
Lauryn spoke about her role as a swing performer in Aladdin. “To get the part you have to fit the mold of all the ensemble girls in the show. As a swing you learn all the actresses’ parts in the show, since you change parts quite often. This means learning the acting and of course the singing parts. The great thing is that I’ve already played the main role of Jasmine a few times, which was so exciting! An important part of acting in Disney shows is meeting all the fans after the show. The young girls are so excited to meet us and I love talking to them. They really see me as a princess! I especially enjoy talking to them about following their own dreams. I remember going to Broadway shows and looking up to the actors so much when I was their age,” Lauryn reminisced.
One of the toughest parts of acting, Lauryn said, is learning to accept rejection and not take it personally. “You’re going to experience a lot more rejection than you could ever anticipate. And you can’t take it personally – you have to move on. You learn to stay confident and humble. You can be at the top of your game and then you can have a long lull. That’s part of the business.”
So what lies ahead for this accomplished actress? In addition to continuing her acting career, Lauryn also plans to continue her work as a guest teacher at dance and theatre studios in the tri-state area. “I love acting, but I also love teaching. There’s a special reward you get when you work with students. It’s a great balance having the opportunity to teach and act, even if it means I rarely get home till midnight most nights. But it’s all worth it.”
Lauryn will continue performing in Aladdin for as long as the show runs. And she is looking forward to seeing some local kids from Armonk at upcoming performances.