leahKiah is a sophomore drama major at Lincoln Park High school, and is ecstatic about being able to be a part of Beautiful Thing. Her previous stage work includes, Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, Dorothy in The Wiz, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie. Most recent film credits, “Yellow Snow Cones” and “Blink”.

Full Birth Name: Kiah Gardner McKirnan

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Age you became interested in theatre: 11-12

Favorite show you worked on: Ragtime, Sweeney Todd

Mentors or inspirations: Johnny Depp is such a malleable actor. I really aspire to be someone who can conform to a part so well and make it appear so effortless.

On a show day, how early do you arrive at the theatre: Either right at call time or a little before. I want to be available, but I don’t want to get in the way.

Dressing room must-have: Power foods; almonds, water bottles, protein bars… and sour patch watermelons.

A show and role you would like to do: Realistically, Mimi in Rent. Unrealistically, Cosette in Les Miserables.

If you were in NY for 4 hours what show would you see: Oh gosh. Lion King for the spectacle, Newsies and Mary Poppins for the fun and The Book of Mormon for the laughs.

The best part of waking up is: Smelling the eggs and bakey.

If you could change your first name, what would you change it to: Anastasia is my cousins name, and the nicknames are endless. And they aren’t ridiculous like, “Ki” (k-eye) or “Ah” (uh).

Favorite food: Mexican, Greek, Asian. Anything from the above three.

If you could meet a Broadway legend, living or dead, who would you meet: Heather Headly!!!

Worst costume: I was in a staged production of Narina. The costume consitited of styrofome horns clipped to me=y head and a wool overcoat. Which in turn, all fell of during a rousing rendition of, “Turkish, Turkish, Delight”.

First stage kiss: Have not actually had one yet! Any takers? 😉

One lesson you have learned while working in the theatre: Never try to direct your scene partner or ensemble members around the stage. It is entirely the director’s job to do this. I have learned the hard way, and I also hate it when it happens to me.

Most unplanned moment or funniest unscripted moment that happened to you while onstage: During a production of Annie that I was in, an orphan became a little frightened and peed on the stage. During, “It’s a Hard Knock Life”. We all kind of mistook the pee for the water coming from the mop buckets…. I guess more disgusting then funny now that I think about it.

Pre-show ritual:  I imagine that I am watching myself in the audience. If I can somehow “fool” myself and really envision me watching “Leah”, or whatever character, I know I’m doing a good job

*Biggest pet peeve: When people lock their car doors after you’ve gotten in. I guess they think I at some point during the journey I will throw myself from the moving vehicle?

One piece of advice for those who are aspiring to work in the theatre: Work for yourself. Be your own advocator and be your own agent. You know what you are good at, and you know what will work for you. You cannot just sit around and wait for the “big break” to come to you. Get out there, be heard, be seen, and be great.

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