Featured Artist: Courtney Lauria

Featured Artist: Courtney Lauria

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Courtney Lauria
Courtney Lauria

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Courtney Lauria
Courtney Lauria

Title/Occupation
Playwright

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I moved to Astoria in February ’07.  For the first five years, I lived with my best friends off of Astoria Park. On New Year’s Day of 2012, I moved with my fiancé to a new apartment off of Steinway.

How did you get involved in theater?
As a kid I had always loved musical theater.

I sang Annie all over the house and demanded a VHS copy of Fiddler on the Roof for an Easter gift. I was a strange little thing. In high school I joined the drama club and loved going on trips to NYC to see shows. As far as writing goes — that didn’t happen until I was in college. I was a theater major, but with every play I acted in, I would get more and more frightened to go on stage.  I took a playwriting class on a whim and fell in love with my professor, Anna Dolan.  We would do a “free write” before each class and I had such a hard time with it. She would constantly wave her hand in my face and say “stop thinking.” To this date, I still do that exercise; it really helps my brain expel the clutter.  In her class I wrote a play called “Someday You’ll Find It,” which got me a summer apprentice position with New York Stage and Film at Vassar.  After that summer it was time to make the move to NYC.

What do you love most about Queens?
Well, first, we have to start with how you get there. I love the N/Q train. I love that I can get a seat.  I love the guy that coaches basketball and asks, “If you don’t have change, at least have a smile.” I love that I am 20 minutes to midtown and 20 minutes to Citi Field.  Astoria is a real neighborhood. It is such a cozy place to live. I love that no matter what time of day it is you can always smell baked bread.

Do you have any “only in Queens” moments you’d like to share?
I used to sit on the roof of my old apartment and watch the Astoria Park 4th of July fireworks and it felt like it was a private show.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?

Love:

Sweet Afton for Deep Fried Pickles

Sugar Freak for EVERYTHING

Monday night summer movies in Astoria Park

Walking along Steinway during Christmas to see all the lights and hear the music 

What was your inspiration for your play Bridges and Boundaries?
I started Bridges and Boundaries years ago when I lived between the RFK (then Tri-boro) and the Hells Gate Bridge. Those homes in that 6 block radius between the 2 bridges, it’s an interesting little niche. It’s a very sweet, safe, and pretty little neighborhood.   I stood outside on my stoop and noticed all of the different ways I could go.  Take the RFK by car; take the Hells Gate by Amtrak; take the short walk to 31st Street and jump the train to Manhattan.  All these different ways to get going and I could see all of them.  It’s a unique place to live — you can actually see every route available to get out of town.  At this same time my father was starting to develop a fear of driving over bridges.  This is a man who grew up in New York — first in Brooklyn and then various places on Long Island before moving down south.  He is a New Yorker. He never had a problem with bridges, and then one day, white knuckled as he drove over some bridge – he declared he is not driving over bridges anymore. It got me thinking, what if you let that fear take over you while you lived somewhere where you had to go over bridges or through tunnels to get anywhere.

Current/Upcoming projects?
I have just become a member of the Queens-based writing group The Propulsion Lab, which is very exciting. Bridges and Boundaries is getting a reading at the Chain Theater in Long Island City on April 1st.

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