Meet Leanne Smith: Charming her way across the stage
By Kasey Carty-Campbell
Photo by Melissa Ray
Whether she’s playing Glenda the Good Fairy, as she did in her eighth-grade musical, “Wizard of Oz,” or the less-than-reputable character of Little Becky Two-Shoes in Kennesaw State University’s production of “Urinetown,” Leanne Smith’s charming personality is guaranteed to win the crowd over.
As a theatre and performance studies major with an emphasis in musical theatre, Leanne is a “triple threat” in the program who can act, sing and dance. “Leanne has the best ‘Broadway Belt’ of the group and she is a charming woman,” says KSU Associate Professor Dean Adams. “When audiences see her on stage, they fall in love with her character and want good things for that character.”
When playing roles, Leanne is not afraid to dive in. “I feel l have the ability to not care about what others may think of me when playing a role, and I’m not afraid of looking silly or stupid in a part,” she says. After her performance as Little Becky Two-Shoes, she played the character part of Goat’s mother in the 2007 KSU production of “The Robber Bridegroom.” She made the part her own, throwing her character’s children across the stage, hitting other characters on the head and talking in a crinkly voice that resonated across the crowd. “I enjoy playing character parts because no one is going to play that part quite like you. While still receiving direction from the director, you can make a memorable character,” says Leanne.
“Leanne doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She understands that theatre is hard work and has a levity about her,” says Jane Barnette, assistant professor and faculty advisor of Alpha Psi Omega, the theatre honor society. She notes the instrumental role Leanne has played as vice president of APO during the recent changes to the organization, as she has stepped up as a leader and a mentor to underclassmen.
“In high school, I thought I knew about theatre, but during my time at KSU, particularly my work in the performance ensembles, I have discovered the connection and relationship that exists between characters,” says Leanne.
As Leanne looks to the future, she plans to work in theatres in the Atlanta area. Double majoring in English education, Leanne also plans to carry the lessons she has learned during her time at KSU by teaching theatre at the high school level. “I would like to teach the techniques of acting and those that have influenced the field so that high school students can know and be prepared for the real world of theatre in Atlanta, New York City and beyond.”