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Throggs Neck actress now performing off-broadway

Lauren Luciano is setting her sights on Broadway after a successful acting debut in an off-broadway production of a lighthearted comedy.

The 23-year-old Throggs Neck resident is staring as Fluenza in “Fuhgeddaboudit: Spaghetti and Matzo Balls,” which is now enjoying an extended run at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in Manhattan. The play is a look at the trials and tribulations of a young Italian man who falls for a Jewish girl, and their family and friends who cannot understand what makes their relationship tick.

For Luciano, who plays the supporting role of an Italian princess in love with the play’s main character Tony, the role is a breakthrough, as she moves up from leading roles in musicals at regional theater to an off-broadway production after receiving rave reviews.

After playing top roles like Maria in “West Side Story” and Julie in “Carousel,” performing for the College Light Opera Company, she is now acting a more prestigious level of theater.

“It is extremely different because this play is not an intense musical drama, but a light-hearted comedy,” Luciano said. “When I was called in for the audition, they had me read lines from the play, and told me to give them my best New York accent. So I thought of Marisa Tomei’s character in ‘My Cousin Vinny.’ I thought of girls that I knew from the neighborhood. They liked that I was very imaginative and creative.”

Luciano said that the so far the show opened to mostly sold out audiences and that performance dates will be announced for September.

Starring in a professional play in Manhattan was not something that happened over night for Luciano, who has been in training in music, classical opera, and acting since she was a pre-teen. While attending St. Benedict’s School, her parents realized that she was gifted in the performing arts. She auditioned and won admission to the Professional Performing Arts School, a musical theater high school in Manhattan that trains actors and dancers. She then went on to earn a bachelor degree in music from Hunter College, with a minor in theater. She was classically trained in opera by voice teacher who began work with Luciano when she was 13-years old.

“The first route that I took was opera, but then I decided musical theater was where I wanted my career to go,” Luciano said. “Now I am training at the HB Acting Studio.”

Luciano said that she is now open to performing in all kinds of venues, whether it is live musical theater or television and film.

She said that growing up in Throggs Neck, so close to the center of the theatrical world in Manhattan, provided her with an advantage that others did not have.

“Seeing live theater had a huge impact on me when I was growing up,” Luciano said. “Growing up in the Bronx, we lived so close to Manhattan and my mother would take me to see live theater from when I was five years old. Sometimes, we would go see a play or musical every weekend. Seeing those shows and living close to a performing arts school really made performing a possibility for me. If I had lived somewhere else, it would have really hurt my chances.”

To learn more about Spaghetti and Matzo Balls, visit spaghettionstage.com. For more about Lauren Luciano, visit her web site at laurenluciano.com.

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