As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to artists to see how they are physically and creatively responding to a changed world.
The series continues with Beth Leavel, who won Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her performance in the title role of The Drowsy Chaperone. She also received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for her work in The Prom and Baby, It's You!, and her other Broadway credits include Bandstand, Elf, Young Frankenstein, Mamma Mia!, 42nd Street, The Civil War, Show Boat, and Crazy for You. Leavel was seen Off-Broadway in Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, Lone Star Love, The Jazz Singer, and An Unfinished Song, while her screen credits include In Strange Woods, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, This Is Where I Leave You, Pzazz 101, ER, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Leavel, who is scheduled to star in the summer 2022 Chicago world premiere of the musical version of The Devil Wears Prada, will also be part of the cast of Scott Siegel's virtual presentation of Broadway by the Year: The Kander & Ebb Years, which will stream May 10 at 7 PM ET. Also featuring Ute Lemper, Tony Yazbeck, Natascia Diaz, and Danny Gardner, tickets for the concert are available by clicking here.
What is your typical day like now?
My typical day in this new normal? Not doing eight shows a week… I go to bed much earlier and wake up much earlier. Adam [Heller] (my fiancé) and I moved, so we have been putting a new apartment together, which has been a great creative distraction. Lots of Zooms/coaching and podcasts. And, I have never watched so much TV in my life. Exploring cooking (not my strong suit). And… I have a cat: Malcolm. He’s a handful!
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
Podcasts. A great one, in which I play a part, is In Strange Woods. Also, Killing It on Broadway. Re-watching Mad Men from first episode. Brilliance! Binged Schitt’s Creek!!
During this time of reflection and re-education regarding BIPOC artists and artistry, particularly in the theatre, what do you want people (those in power, fellow actors, audiences) to be aware of? What do you want them to consider further?
I will be a better listener. I will be a better advocate, and I will vote.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation and/or the current unrest?
What a year this has been. I’m lucky to have been isolated with Adam and Malcolm. There are good days, and not so good days. That’s okay. Reach out. Call people. Ask for help if you need it. My friend Josh Lamon came up with a great pandemic mantra: Having a good day? You’re nailing it! Having a bad day? You’re nailing it. So... I’m nailing it!!
How, if at all, are you keeping your creative juices flowing? Has that been helpful to you?
My creative juices/creative heartbeat has been kept alive with coaching and saying yes to opportunities that arise; the upcoming Scott Siegel Town Hall concert on May 10, where I get to sing Kander and Ebb tunes! (I get to sing “Maybe This Time.”) I have never belted so much in my living room. Also, I know people who have been putting together play readings and meet once a month just to have fun/sing and connect.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
I am lucky enough to have been involved in a slew of new projects, including a new TV project, The Bite, which Adam and I shot single-handedly in our apartment. The Devil Wears Prada is actively being developed. Zoom reading coming soon.
What organization would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change?
There are so many organizations worthy and in need of help: The Actors Fund, Broadway Cares, Broadway Barks, and Mary-Mitchell Campbell’s organization ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty). … nailing it…