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Interview with Linda Leonard, Multi-talented Artist and Educator



In the dynamic world of performing arts, there exist individuals whose journey not only inspires but also serves as a guiding light for aspiring talents. Linda, a seasoned artist and educator, embodies this spirit of inspiration through a career marked by dedication, resilience, and creativity. From the early influences that ignited their passion for acting and filmmaking to the pivotal moments in their illustrious career, Linda shares insights and wisdom gleaned from a life devoted to the arts.

Early Influences:

What sparked your interest in acting/filmmaking and the performing arts?

Linda: A performance of Swan Lake at Clowes Hall when I was 6 years old! Our Latvian tenants, who shared our 18-room home, took me to see The Harkness Ballet and I was hooked! Kind of a story out of “A Chorus Line”. I began with the world of dance and that led to an entire career as an artist and collaborator.

Were there specific individuals, performances, or experiences that influenced your decision to pursue a career in acting/filmmaking?

Linda: One of my instructors, Robin Horne, guided me as I danced, sang, and acted my way through my childhood and adolescence, and a man named Ron Spencer inspired me all through my teen and young adulthood.


Training and Education:

Can you share details about your training?

Linda: I began dancing when I was 7, in all disciplines, singing with a Heldentenor when I was 15, and did my first play when I was a sophomore at St Mary’s Academy, which was “You Can’t Take it With You”. I trained in Chicago with Gus Giordano and with teachers in New York, including Luigi and Danny Daniels to name a few. I got my Equity Card and moved to New York when I was 19 years old and worked off Broadway and in National Tours and Summer Stock for 4 years and then I moved to Chicago, where I continued my career in Theatre, Film, and Commercial work, combining with teaching and further education.

How has your educational background shaped your approach to both acting/filmmaking and teaching?

Linda: I received a BA in Acting and an Associate Degree in Psychology from Marian College and an Associate Degree in Dance from Butler University and I also opened my own studio to pay for my college education. I was the first in my family history to graduate from college so I consider myself to be a “Self Starter” in many ways… When I moved from New York to Chicago, I was welcomed into the world of On-Camera through my agent Harrisse Davidson and I haven’t looked back since.

Career Highlights:

What are some of the most memorable roles or projects you’ve been involved in throughout your career?

Linda: I think one of my most life-changing experiences was a 5-year run of CATS. I was grateful to have worked with so many talented artists and have the opportunity to do a National and New York tour of CATS and I finished those 5 years with a sit-down company in Hamburg Germany. T Michael Reed was our director for the tour originally and his production carried on the legacy of Gillian Lynn and Trevor Nunn, and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Over the years with the company, I played first Jenny Any Dots, then Jellylorum and finally Grizabella.

Are there particular achievements or milestones that you are especially proud of?

Linda: I may have just answered that question above 🙂 One thing that changed my life and saved me: I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in 1991, at the very end of my run of CATS in Hamburg and during my Chemo and Recovery, I returned to the US to meet my new Oncologist, who lived in Fort Worth, TX. And the story goes on from there…


What principles and values guide your approach to teaching performing arts?

Linda: I believe in collaborating, listening, seeing the talent in others and inspiring others. I teach what I do… I have to take responsibility for what I teach to help others reach their dreams and potential.

Can you share a particularly rewarding or memorable moment from your teaching career?

Linda: There are so many… My greatest joy is walking onto a set or stepping into a rehearsal room and seeing my former or current students in the room with me, in their careers and realizing their dreams…


As an Actor:

How do you typically approach a new role? What’s your process for getting into character?

Linda: I typically immerse myself in research and try to understand the character’s motivations and background. Then, I delve into the script to uncover layers and nuances that bring the character to life.




As a Filmmaker:

What is your creative process like when developing a new film project?

Linda: My creative process usually begins with a spark of an idea or a theme that resonates with me. From there, I collaborate with writers and other creatives to flesh out the story and bring it to fruition.

Any Additional Information/Words of Wisdom you would like to share?

Linda: “Life is Art and Art is Life” and “You are What you Do!” “Be Kind and Live your Life as if it is your Last Days.”



In the ever-evolving landscape of the performing arts, Linda stands as a beacon of creativity, resilience, and compassion. Linda’s journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of art and the enduring impact of mentorship and guidance in nurturing the talents of tomorrow. As Linda continues to inspire both on and off the stage, their legacy illuminates the path for aspiring artists, reminding us all that with passion and perseverance, the possibilities are endless.


Want to Learn from Linda? Enroll in an 8-week short course.

Childrens Classes 7-11 years

Teen Classes 12-17 years

Adults 18+

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