How Characters and Stories Can Build Your Confidence


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.

Ready to be unforgettable? Good.


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  • Captivate your audience
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"Storytelling is an art form - and Kymberlee Weil is the master! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented creatives in the world, and Kymberlee is close to the top of that list. She has an uncanny ability to uncover nuance and layers in a story - details often overlooked by the author - and has a deep understanding and connection with the value of well-executed presentation. Working with Kymberlee is more than a journey, it’s a transformative experience."


"Kymberlee helped me tremendously in the weeks leading up to my TED talk and afterwards. I have given hundreds of talks to audiences big and small. But the TED stage is a different beast -- every word matters.Kymberlee kept me on point, focused, and she took the time to figure out what my objectives really were and how to get me there. She is a true master of her trade and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from her."


"I thought I had public speaking down pat. I've addressed audiences all over the world ranging from 62 to 1000 people. But going into that red circle at TEDx, and connecting with a vastly diverse audience is like moving to another planet. Kymberlee made that move effortless and exciting. As a former Green Beret, I have followed a lot of quality leaders and coaches, and I would follow Kymberlee anywhere… Especially into the red circle."