Leap of Faith at the Independent Theatre

Carly spoke with Michaela Leisk this week ahead of her opening night starring in North Shore Theatre Company's production of 'Leap of Faith.' Sydney-siders, if you are looking for a fun night out at a musical this week, this is definitely the show for you! Have a read below for more from Michaela:

Leap of Faith tells the story of ‘Reverend’ Jonas Nightingale who is a part-time reverend and a full time con artist. As he travels with his ministry, his bus brakes down and whilst in small town Kansas, your character tries to stop him from taking the townspeoples’ money. Tell us more about Marla McGowan. Who is she and what have you enjoyed most about portraying her?

Marla is an intelligent, capable, mature woman with a tough exterior and deeply caring core. She has a son who is disabled, and works very hard. I have relished the opportunity to play a romantic lead who has really lived, and is more grown up than your typical ingenue. 

What else can you tell us about the world of this musical?

This musical was based on the film of the same name starring Steve Martin. It’s set in a small country town, going through a drought. A con man comes to town, and so begins a huge shift in perspective and growth for many. 

What attracted you to Leap of Faith initially? What can audiences expect? 

I loved the very human story, and was delighted to discover that the music was composed by Alan Menken, who wrote the music for Disney’s Aladdin. Audiences can expect a funny, heartfelt, gospel singing adventure!

What has the rehearsal process been like for this show? It’s a large cast!! How has it been working with this team?

The rehearsal process has been intense! There are three different families in the show, and a lot of what we’ve rehearsed has been stitched together in the last few weeks as we’re not all involved at the same time. We have a passionate creative team, our director, Chapin Ayres, knows exactly what she wants, and we are lucky to have a marvellous actor playing the lead, Jonas Nightingale. The show is really all about him, and he doesn’t disappoint.

What makes this story relevant for 2018 audiences?

We have the theme of the drought, something that resonates with what our poor farmers here in Australia are struggling with at the moment. It’s a timeless story of flawed, wonderful human beings getting a second chance.


Favourite production you have ever seen?

My favourite production that I have ever seen was my very first musical, 42nd Street starring Nancye Hayes and Todd McKenney, when I was 6 years old. Everything about it was spectacular and full of energy. I was hooked, and will never forget it.


You're getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere. Where do you go?

If I could go anywhere tomorrow it would be to Cornwall, UK. My ancestors were from that region, and it is one of the most magical places I have ever been to. On one family trip during my teens, I would run out through the fields and flowers to the cliffs and sing and sing, just like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music!


Dream role to perform?

My dream role is Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera, but particularly in its sequel, Love Never Dies. My goal is to head to London and see if I'm in with a chance.

Plays or Musicals?

I adore anything Sondheim, particularly "Into the Woods". I'm lucky in that I had my vocal training at the Royal College of Music, London, and I really appreciate intricate, edgy, beautiful music. He always gets to what's "real" in a story and no one can match his lyrics, in my opinion.


A hobby you have beyond the theatre?

I have an eclectic mix of hobbies, from playing flute and songwriting with my guitar, to juggling, yoga, rollerskating and bushwalking. I'm also a keen fan of visual art, even though I'm not an artist myself. As my grandmother would say, "Variety is the spice of life!" 

What's next for you after this show?

I'm pleased to say that immediately following this wonderful, heartfelt show, I'll be heading into rehearsals for Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Aspects of Love" at the Hayes Theatre, playing November-January.

Tickets to Leap of Faith are available here and shows begin tonight so get in quick so as not to miss out!

Michaela Leisk

Michaela Leisk and co-star Mateo Morchio

Michaela Leisk and co-star Mateo Morchio

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