Lauren Ridloff made her Broadway debut this week in the revival of the Tony winning play “Children of a Lesser God”. Ridloff plays a deaf janitor who begins a relationship with a speech therapist at the school where she works. Ridloff was born deaf and easily comprehended the struggles her character goes through living in a hearing world. Ridloff is getting rave reviews for her role.
Here are 5 things you didn’t know about Lauren Ridloff.
1. She’s from Chicago
Lauren Ridloff was born deaf and grew up as Lauren Teruel in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. As a young girl she loved to read and watch movies. She was drawn to writing and the theater as ways of creative expression. While attending Gallaudet University High School, Lauren performed in the school production of “The Wiz”. She competed and won the title of Miss Deaf America.
2. She was a teacher
Lauren graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Creative Writing. She worked as a teacher in Washington DC before settling in Manhattan. She married her husband Doug who is also deaf. The couple live in a red brick row house in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. They have 2 young sons who are also deaf.
3. Working with the deaf
Lauren Ridloff works with the deaf and encourages participation in creative arts. As a deaf person raising two deaf sons, Ridloff is happy that there are so many opportunities for her sons today through technology and visual arts. While working as the Family Liason at the Lexington School for the Deaf, Lauren began working for the New York Deaf Theater. She co-directed “Sign Me Not” and directed New York City’s first deaf rendition of “The Vagina Monologues”. She also had a role as a deaf made in last year’s film “Wonderstruck”.
4. An advisor to the director
Tony winning director Kenneth Leon met with Lauren Ridloff for coffee at a restaurant near her Brooklyn home to learn more about the deaf world because he was working on the revival of the play “Children of a Lesser God”. He was struck by the young, confident woman he met. Lauren and Kenneth Leon worked for a year with her teaching him American Sign Language and enlightening him on the world of the deaf. To Lauren’s surprise, Leon asked her to read for the part of Sarah Newman in “Children of a Lesser God”.
5. Her role as Sarah Newman
Lauren Ridloff is receiving rave reviews for her role as Sarah Newman in the revival of “Children of a Lesser God” at the Studio 54 Theater on Broadway in Manhattan. She brings her dynamic personality and confidence to the role of the school janitor who refuses to speak.
Lauren said she dealt with the same issues when she was a teenager growing up in Chicago. She plays opposite Joshua Jackson in the revival of the Tony winning 1979 play. Marlee Matlin won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Sarah Newman in the 1986 film based on the play. Lauren Ridloff may win the Tony herself for the role. Critics are calling her performance “heart rending” and “powerful”.