Leah Greenhaus is another one of our next generation actors who's making a name for herself! Leah made her Broadway debut in "Shrek The Musical" as "Young Fiona," while regionally, Leah has been seen in "Meet Me In St. Louis" at Paper Mill Playhouse, "The Pillowman" at the Attic Ensemble, and "Seussical" with The Theater Company in Hoboken. Most recently, Leah was seen in "Helen on 86th Street" at the American Theater of Actors.
Currently, Leah is in "The Kid Who Would Be Pope" as part of the 2011 New York Musical Theatre Festival from September 26-October 7 at The Theater at St. Clements in NYC (423 West 46th Street). Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Definitely my parents. My mom was an actress before I was born (she hates it when I tell people that), so I think that's where I first got the idea. But even when I got older and actually started pursuing it, I loved it and still wanted to do it. Plus, my parents have always been big musical theater lovers so I've been surrounded by musical theater my whole life. I go to shows in the city all the time, and I think I'm the only kid in my town who grew up listening to "Gypsy" and "1776."
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Well, if I could be in a movie with anyone it would definitely be Meryl Streep or Emma Watson. I'm not even sure some people know who Emma Watson is but she played Hermione in the Harry Potter movies. Okay I know that sounds SOOO dorky but I just honestly think she's a great actress and she's gorgeous and she seems so sweet. And of course, I think Meryl Streep is brilliant, and she can do anything. I could learn so much from her. If I could work with anyone on stage, I would love to work with either Kristen Chenoweth or Bernadette Peters. They were some of the first Broadway actresses I ever knew the names of, and I just think they're aaammaaazzziinnggg. They're both so different but so talented, and I loved them in everything I've seen them in.
3. What attracted you to "The Kid Who Would Be Pope" and what excites you about performing in NYMF? Honestly, when I first got the audition I knew nothing about it. They sent me the script and I remember reading it and thinking, "This is really funny!" My mom was at work at the time so I remember actually calling her just to tell her how funny I thought it was. I'm SO excited to be in NYMF because there are so many new shows that really have the potential to make it on Broadway, and it's so cool to be part of that.
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "The Kid Who Would Be Pope"? Well I hope it makes them happy, for one thing. It's just a really sweet show and I hope they think so too. I hope this doesn't sound too corny, but I hope they get sort of a sense of optimism. I mean it really is a show about not giving up and doing what you want no matter what other people think of you. And I think that's something people really need to think about; it's a pretty important message in my opinion. It's also just nice to see a feel good show!
5. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show and where is your favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? I was actually thinking about this the other day, and I really just like the whole process. But if I had to pick a favorite part, then it would have to be the transition from rehearsal studio to theater. It's so much fun getting costumes, seeing the stage, and getting your props. It's like a completely different show, and it just makes you think, "Wow, this show is actually happening," instead of it seeming sort of off in the distance.
6. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I don't know if I've learned anything about myself necessarily, but I think I have matured a lot since my first show, especially because I've worked with so many adults. I can walk around the city by myself now, I can take the subway alone and go in and out of the city by myself (because I don't actually live in the city, I live in New Jersey). But I've also learned not to be a stereotypical teenager. I think (I hope) that I'm past that whole obnoxious teenager thing. Instead I just try to be a nice person, and avoid catty drama and gossip. Nowadays, I tend to like hanging out better with my adult friends than my teen friends.
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I'm not really a push-up and crunches kind of person. I usually like dancing or something fun like swimming to stay in shape. I also play tennis with my dad sometimes! (I'm terrible, but it's still fun and good exercise).
8. Favorite skin care product? Favorite kind of shoes? Right now I'm using some sort of Clean and Clear product that I like, but I can't remember the name. They're all the same to me.
I LOVE flip flops. You don't have to tie any laces and you can take them off so fast, which works for me because in the summer I love being barefoot.
9. Favorite website? Of course Facebook. But I also like Youtube and my new obsession is with Pottermore, which is this website for Harry Potter fans (like me) where they can obsess over Harry Potter without being called a dork.
10. "Glinda" or "Elphaba"? I'm definitely more of a "Glinda." I'm blonde and small and I can do that whole squeaky voice thing. But "Elphaba" has some pretty amazing songs to sing...
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? I've received a lot of good advice, but I also have a terrible memory and I can't remember many things I've been told....but one thing I remember is someone once told me to always keep laughing, no matter what. I just thought it was so simple, but so smart, especially because the person who said this to me was going through some pretty tough things. But they were okay because they never stopped laughing. No matter what happens, no matter what goes wrong, just keep laughing and smiling and everything will be okay. I really am a silly person, so this advice was not hard for me to take. But it really is useful, so I try to keep laughing always.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Probably Tom Felton (the bad guy in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "Draco" in the "Harry Potter" series). I mean have you SEEN him? Goooorgeous.
13. You performed in a few of fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Billy Mitchell's shows including his upcoming show "Blood & Oil" this spring at The Attic Ensemble. What is about Billy's shows that keep drawing you back and what have you learned from working with him? Well first of all, the shows I've done with him always turn out great. I did "Seussical" with him a few years ago, a show that is really long and kind of all over the place. But he was able to condense it so that it was a reasonable amount of time, it made sense, and it was just an awesome show! Plus, he's a really nice guy, and he's HILARIOUS, so he's fun to be around and work with! He's another person who taught me to just keep laughing. But he's also taught me to try new things, and not be self conscious about it. I went from playing an innocent Dr. Seuss character to playing a girl who thinks she's jesus and drops the "F-bomb" several times (in Billy's show "The Pillowman"). At first, this role seemed really scary. It was kind of strange (well, REALLY strange) and I'd never cursed before! But I learned to not be self conscious and just go for it. Well, I did, and eventually it was no big deal, and I ended up having tons of fun!
14. Looking back, what was the best part about starring in "Shrek" on Broadway as "Young Fiona"? "Starring?" Haha I think that's a bit of a stretch. There were so many amazing things about being in Shrek, especially the performing, but I think the best part and the part that will stay with me forever is the people. I met so many people that became my best friends. They taught me so much, and they were all so much fun. They never failed to make me laugh. I still talk to them and I love them all dearly.