Artist Spotlight: Sam Lauten


Home is a stage for senior Sam Lauten.  He has starred in numerous productions and is known best by some for his work in Westminster productions such as the little boy in Ragtime or Marius in Les Miserables at FabreFaction.

The start of Lauten’s career began in fourth grade when he participated in elementary school chorus teachers Maxine Smith and Rebecca Doster’s program. After encouragement from Smith, Lauten branched out to try Westminster’s Theater Intensive program that takes place during the summer. Loving it, Lauten spoke with theater director Eric Brannen, who asked him to play a little boy inthe high school’s production of Ragtime.

“It’s fun to play characters other than yourself. I find it enjoyable to make a character and get to live as that character for three hours a night for a couple of weeks,” said Lauten. “It is also nice to feel the energies of audiences since they are all different. They will bring stuff to the show and find things funny and moving that you didn’t think about.”

Lauten also performs outside of school and is associated with theater companies such as FabreFaction. Kate Morgens, director of middle school performing arts, first met Lauten there. Soon after, Morgens directed Westminster’s Arcadia, allowing her to see more of Lauten’s abilities.

Sam’s favorite roles range from a long while back to just last year. The most enjoyable role he played was Marius in Les Miserables, as well Professor Jordan in 39 Steps. Another favorite of his was Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.

With regard to his acting, Sam plays each role given to him very well.

“The best thing about his acting is that he is a smart actor and he is very versatile,” said Morgens. “He is able to be incredibly funny, and also a great dramatic actor. He leads the cast well, and he helps other cast members.”

When not acting or serving as the president of the Westminster Players, Lauten leads a busy life as one of the two student leaders of MAC. He spends a great deal of time around Fred Scott, director of choral music, since he takes part in chorus and ensemble as well.

“Sam is one of the most resourceful, creative, energetic, musical, talented young men I have seen,” said Scott, “in quite a long time of conducting choruses, either in high school, in college, or professionally.”

When working in new plays and musicals, Lauten is quick to develop relationships with the people he works with.

“Since he is the president of different clubs,” said Morgens, “he leads the cast well and helps other cast members.”

Lauten will also take the stage playing the leading role of King Arthur in the upcoming upper school musical, Spamalot. He guides the show alongside Patsy, played by Nicholas Tassopoulos. Set in England, the show’s plot revolves around King Arthur “riding” through the land, recruiting knights for his round table.

The production has two skilled student directors,junior Leafia Sheraden Cox and alumnus John Britti, who help keep the acting true to the show and keep the cast organized.

“The way Sam behaves is very comfortable; he is fine making a complete fool of himself,” said Cox. “He performs odd dances and says funny lines with total comfort, which is a mark of an artist who can be so comfortable in someone else’s skin. His singing voice is great, and he is definitely getting alone establishing character relationships with every one in the cast.”

Lauten also leads MAC with Ben Ladner, choosing popular songs for them to perform. Ensemble is also a favorite of his, as the group gets to take an annual spring trip to Europe. This year, the Ensemble will travel to Vienna, Austria, and Salzburg, accompanied by Scott as well as high school chorus director Michael Dauterman.

“I think Sam has a great deal to offer, and he has a great future in front of him, whether it’s in the music business or not,” says Scott. “Whatever he does, he will combine those skills of creativity and energy and talent into what he does.”

Lauten would like to continue singing and acting in his free time once he graduates.

“I would actually like to pursue science and medicine when I graduate,” said Lauten, “but I will definitely continue to perform!”