- Natalie Wisdom
Analisa Leaming, Broadway Actress.
[Interview Date: December 19, 2020]
Anna in The King and I, Rosalie in School of Rock, Irene U/S in Hello, Dolly!, On the Twentieth Century and more.
Where were you on March 12, 2020? And what was the week leading up to it like?
I was at my parent’s home in Tennessee. I left the Hello, Dolly! tour on March 1st, because I was 6-months pregnant. On March 6th, I sang a concert in Little Rock, Arkansas, my last gig during my pregnancy. I was in negotiations for an upcoming gig, to begin in the summer, while settling into my parents’ house with my husband, where we’d decided to go to have our baby. Little did we know the world was about to turn upside-down.
What was the ﬁrst week of oﬃcial quarantine like for you (post March 12)?
I felt incredibly grateful to be in rural Tennessee with my family, but it was heartbreaking and terrifying, watching all of my friends lose their jobs overnight.
What have you been doing over the past year or so to stay sane? What has helped you the most?
My son has been my North Star. The greatest gift.
How have your priorities changed since the shutdown? Have there been decisions you have made that you don’t think you would have if things had stayed normal?
Had the shut-down not happened, I would have been back to work on Broadway, 8 weeks post-partum. I honestly don’t know if I could have done it. I can’t imagine being away from my son for so long each day.
What has been the most challenging thing about the past months since the shutdown?
The loss of income. Missing my community. Not having the social interaction.
What positives, if any, do you think have come out of this time of quarantine? What brings you hope?
So many positives-priorities! Americans value work and productivity above all else. I hope this time will shift priorities in the workplace - perhaps being more family-friendly, a few less hours, honoring weekends and time off work, etc.
What is it like to be adjusting to parenthood during this time? Have there been any speciﬁc pandemic-related challenges? Are some things easier since you’re expected to stay at home for the most part?
I wish I could have friends over all the time - for help and for fun. So many family members haven’t met my son. It’s sad. On the flip side, I am with him 24/7, and while that can be challenging, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What do you miss the most about live theatre?
The amazing community of people. The buzz of the energy both on and off-stage.
What’s your favorite theatre memory?
Lately, I’ve been texting with my Cornelius, Minnie Fay and Barnaby from tour - We’ve been reminiscing about our backstage antics, and I miss it so much.
What is the ﬁrst thing you’re going to do when theatre is back?
I’d love to see Hadestown! I was on tour when it opened. I missed so many shows on the road.
What advice do you have for young Broadway hopefuls during this time?
Broadway will be back. It will take time, but it will thrive again. Use this time to work on your craft and, perhaps, another skill that you can monetize. There are always times between shows where you’ll need to make money. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it were something you enjoyed?
Favorite Broadway Musical - Into the Woods
Favorite role you’ve played - Anna (King and I)
Dream role you’ve yet to play - Something Adam Guettel will write for me!
Favorite Movie Musical - The Sound of Music
Movie that you think should be a musical - The Guernsey Literary Potato Pie Society
Favorite Broadway Theatre Ritual - Happy Trails
Favorite city on tour - Denver
Favorite Dressing Room item - My table mat that Betsy Morgan made me when I replaced her in The King and I - She’s a quilter.
Favorite inspirational quote – “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.” - Marianne Williams