Theatre of Western Springs Spotlight: Nicole Leatherwood

Nicole Leatherwood | Submitted
Nicole Leatherwood | Submitted

Get to know the community of Western Springs with our Theatre of Western Springs Spotlight feature!

This week, we meet Nicole Leatherwood of Darien. She joined TWS in 2010.

Q. How did you find out about TWS?

A. My daughter Emily had been taking classes and performing with the Children’s Theatre and, as a result, I learned of and became familiar with the adult theatre.

Q. Why did you join TWS?

A. I acted when I was in high school and college and had stopped when I started practicing law. I had only recently begun acting and performing again when I learned of TWS, and I was very excited to join this fabulous theatre. Also, one of my instructors at Acting Studio Chicago (Kurt Naebig) became TWS’s artistic director, and I was very anxious to work with him.

Q. Go back in time. When did you discover you had an interest in theatre/drama?

A. I had an interest in theatre and drama since birth. When we were children, my sister and I used to put on plays for our parents and grandparents. As I was both the oldest, and the sister interested in acting, I was able to choose the plays and the roles, so I was always front and center. Therefore, I starred as Dorothy and my sister played everyone else in our production of “The Wizard of Oz,” I portrayed Alice and my sister played everyone else in our production of “Alice in Wonderland,” and I played the Roller Skating Queen, star of a fabulous revue on wheels, while my sister was the audience in a play that we wrote ourselves, and so on. I think that my sister still resents me for all of this.

Q. At TWS, do you work on crews, backstage and/or front of house?

A. I have worked backstage and in front of the house at TWS. I will serve as the Hospitality Annual Chair for the upcoming season, and last season, I served as the Assistant Stage Manager for “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” I have also worked on props, paint, and box office crews, and have put up posters around town to advertise our productions. I figure every little bit helps.

Q. At TWS, do you act on stage?

A. One of my favorite things to do in the world is to act on stage, and I have been lucky to perform in several productions at TWS, most recently as Laura Warwick in “The Unexpected Guest.” That production was a great deal of fun, and it was a blast starting the show holding a gun as the presumptive murderess, and ending the show facing the audience, literally watching everyone figure out the resolution to the mystery. However, my favorite role had to be Grace Bradley in “The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever,” not only because it was my first role on the TWS Mainstage, but because I shared the stage with my daughter, Emily, who played an angel and was a featured vocalist. We drove to rehearsals and read lines together, and the entire experience was magical.

Q. What do you love about TWS? What is it about TWS that motivates you?

A. First and foremost, the people. From the moment I walked in to Studio, I was welcomed with open arms. I have never in my life met a group of friendlier, more generous people than those at the theatre. There is such a sense of family, and everyone works so hard towards a common goal – to produce a professional quality product that we can all view with pride.

Q. TWS has flourished for 85 years. Are there traditions at TWS that you value?

A. I value the degree of dedication and commitment that each active puts into the theatre. Everyone takes their role very seriously and gives everything they have to make each production memorable. I think the fact that everyone works behind the scenes, as well as on stage, makes everyone invested in each production. We also have a lot of fun!

Q. Tell about something at TWS that was, is, or will be a really big thrill for you.

A. Every time I am able to perform on stage is a really big thrill, and working with such talented people in a theatre, led by past artistic directors Kurt Naebig, Rick Snyder, and current artistic director Eddie Sugarman, is nothing short of amazing.

Q. List three things you have given TWS.

A. Time, energy, and total commitment to every performance and every role.

Q. List three things TWS has given you.

A. Good friends, a venue for artistic expression and a home away from home.

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