This Week’s Episode:
A theater friend of mine sends me an email. He’s directing a play and wants me to be in it. Yet my schedule is so crazy, I don’t think I can fit it in, and I definitely don’t want to let the other actors down. He insists that we can work around my schedule and then drops a bit of a bombshell. It’s a one-act play, and I’m the only actor in it.
My internal dialogue starts dialing up the panic mode almost immediately:
“Sure, I’m a speaker. I’m an Improv performer. I’ve acted in plays, but I’ve never been in one by myself! Can I really do this?”
The more the fear sets in, though, the more I realize I have to do this. So I tell him I’ll go for it, and we create this crazy character without constraint. I push myself in ways I never have before to bring this character to life.
My guest today, Leah Sprecher, lives her life in stories. She is equally at home on stage and screen, touring the country performing in musicals and in guest stints on popular TV shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live and Blackish. What I’m most excited to talk with her about in this episode, however, is her experience debuting two original one-woman shows as the character of Barbara.
If you’re curious to know:
Why might it be easier to express feelings and vulnerability as a character rather than yourself? And how can characters help you overcome stage fright? You’ll hear about all of this and why you don’t need to start from scratch when building a character, the battle between responding to fans as a character versus yourself, and more!
What you will learn in this episode:
- How to infuse characters with real-life feelings
- Why collaboration can make a world of difference in your performance
- Why relatability and joy are essential for great storytelling
Who is Leah?
Leah Sprecher earned her B.A. in Theatre from UCLA’s Ray Bolger Musical Theatre Program. She has multiple stage, television, and musical credits to her name. Her tours around the country include Broadway musicals like 42nd Street, Happy Days, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. She’s also performed in Cinderella at Papermill Playhouse and in Pirates of Penzance, Happy Days, and Darling Grenadine at Goodspeed Opera House.
In addition, Leah has done guest stints on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and Blackish and IFC’s Maron. She also performs as her alter ego Barbara Dixon, a character who satirizes autobiographical cabaret shows that starred people like Barbara Cook, Elaine Stritch, and Liza Minnelli. She debuted original one-woman shows Old Lady Parts and Everything’s Coming Up Barbara as an alumnus of the Groundlings Sunday Company. And recently, she’s sung and toured as a member of The Bombshells, which blends Top 40 hits with tight harmonies popularized by The Andrews Sisters.
Along with her acting work, Leah has written songs for institutions like Invisalign, Funny or Die, and Betch: A Sketch Show. And as a co-founder of Broadway Babies, she teaches classes and performs shows for kids of all ages.
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JULIAN REEVESPEAKER, AUTHOR, FORMER MUSIC DIRECTOR OF HAMILTON
JUNA KOLLMEIERASTROPHYSICIST, TED SPEAKER
LTC (RET.) SCOTT MANNGREEN BERET, ENTREPRENEUR, STORYTELLER, TRAINER, COACH, AUTHOR