The recollection of near-daily, hour-long van rides from Bourbon, Missouri, to St. Louis and back is etched in Taylor Louderman’s memory. Also present is the memory of her younger twin sisters screaming in the back of the Toyota Sienna because the sun was in their eyes.
“My family and I, my family mostly, had to make a lot of sacrifices for my career, and I felt like we were all able to celebrate together,” Louderman said just prior to a recent rehearsal for this year’s Tony Awards that are Sunday night.
Louderman received her first Tony nomination for best leading actress in a musical. She portrays the so-called queen bee, Regina George, in the Broadway musical “Mean Girls.” The play is adapted from a 2004 movie of the same name about cliques in high school. The plot centers on a new girl who comes to town and joins a clique of three popular girls with the result being “an all-out girl war,” as Louderman puts it.
Louderman, 27, moved to Bourbon (pop. 1,612) in elementary school. The graduate of Sullivan High School played the title role in “Annie” when she was 10 years old at the Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla. She went on to perform at Stages St. Louis, the Muny and the Fox Theatre.
“I’ve had some ups and downs. You go through spells of unemployment always as an actor, especially when you’re working your way up,” she said. “But, gosh, I feel like I’ve worked so hard. This definitely feels like a celebration of all of that work … it paid off.”
To talk with Louderman, however, she seems to credit her family, friends and the people who have supported her more than she does herself for all the recent success.
“A lot of people, especially in the St. Louis area, have really made an impact or influenced me in my career,” Louderman said.
As opposed to some actors who hail from the Midwest, Louderman very much considers Missouri home. Her family still lives in the area and she wants to give back.
“I try to get home as often as I can,” she said. “I think being from the small town that I’m from, sometimes the expectations are a little lower than I would like them to be, and that’s something I would like to do … [is to] inspire young people that they can do whatever they want to do. It takes a lot of hard work and maybe a little harder work than if they lived in the city, but it’s possible.”
Whereas many of her colleagues escape to upstate New York or to the Hamptons to get away from the business of Manhattan, Louderman said she prefers to come back home to Missouri.
Those trips, she said, ideally include lounging on the couch and catching up with friends and family, as well as eating Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, seeing the St. Louis Cardinals in action at Busch Stadium and visiting the Muny.
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