Leslie Becker

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Leslie Becker
Born California
Occupation Actress, singer, writer
Home town Manhattan Beach, California

Leslie Becker is an award-winning actress, singer and writer who is best known for her work on Broadway and as the author of the bestselling guide, The Organized Actor. As an actor, she originated the roles of Cumie Barrow and Governor Miriam Ferguson in the Broadway musical Bonnie and Clyde, which opened at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in New York on December 1, 2011.[1][2] She also originated the role of The Queen in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, which opened at Madison Square Garden and toured the country for two years in 2000–2002. In addition, she was in the Broadway production of the Tony Award–winning revival of Anything Goes, starring Sutton Foster and Joel Gray, the Tony Award–winning revival of Nine, starring Antonio Banderas. She toured the country in Broadway hits Wicked, Show Boat, Beauty and the Beast and more.[1][3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Born in Manhattan Beach, California, Becker's early years were spent juggling her love for performing and athletics. She was a member of the West Side Ballet Company for 10 years, where she performed in the ballet The Nutcracker annually, as well as studying classical piano and competing in a girl's softball league and tennis.

She began acting during high school, where she starred in many of the school's productions, including Laurey in Oklahoma!.[6] Becker holds degrees in Journalism and Advertising from Cal State Fullerton. She continued to perform in professional regional theatres throughout California during her college years, including roles as Liesl in The Sound of Music, Alice in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and a role in 42nd Street, all before she was 21.[1][3][7]

Professional theater and The Organized Actor[edit]

After college, Becker played Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain (4 productions), Sally in Me and My Girl (2 productions) and Edith in My One and Only, winning her several critic awards, including a Drama-Logue Award for Best Actress for her work in Me and My Girl.[6]

Drawn by her experiences as an actress and entrepreneurial instincts, Becker authored a motivational book for actors, The Organized Actor.[8] Initially written to help other actors get organized, the title caught fire and is still one of the bestselling organizational tools for actors, already in its 6th edition.[8]

Her big break as an actress came in 1994 when she was cast in the Los Angeles production of Broadway's Beauty and the Beast, starring Susan Egan and James Barbour. After running nearly two years, she finally made the move to New York and quickly booked the national tour of Show Boat and spent 1996–1999 touring the country and starring in several regional roles, including Mary in It's a Wonderful Life, Cassie in several productions of A Chorus Line, Emily in State Fair, Irene in Hello, Dolly! and Anna in The King and I.[8] Director Victoria Racimo called Becker on for her one-person play, titled Private Lawrence, based on the life of Gertrude Lawrence, which was sold out in New York City.[8]

The Musical Writers Playground[edit]

In 1998, Becker co-founded The Musical Writers Playground with colleagues DJ Salisbury and VP Boyle in New York City. The group was formed to help musical theater composers and lyricists get their work seen by Broadway producers.[9][10][11] The company disbanded in 2004, but the works that she wrote during that time are still in various stages of development. Her musicals include Fetching Water with collaborator Michael Hunsaker, A Proper Place with collaborator Curtis Rhodes and Here We Are with collaborator Mark Wilder. And her commissioned songs are still heard in cabaret venues across the country (many written with composer Mary-Mitchell Campbell) and have been sung by famous Broadway voices, including Marc Kudisch, Lynne Winterstellar, Barbara Walsh, and Celia Keenan Bolger.[6]

Additional Broadway Credits[edit]

While serving as executive director of The Musical Writers Playground, Becker's acting career began to grow, and she was cast as The Queen in Madison Square Garden's production and tour of Cinderella, starring Eartha Kitt and Deborah Gibson in 2000. Becker received critical acclaim as the "funny, and archly mannered Queen."[12][13]

Shortly thereafter, she was cast in her first Broadway show, Nine, starring Antonio Banderas, where she understudied (and performed) ten name actresses, including Chita Rivera, Mary Beth Peil and Sandra Santiago.[6]

Bonnie and Clyde[edit]

In 2009, Becker originated the roles of Cumie Barrow (the mother of Clyde Barrow) and Governor Miriam Ferguson in the world premiere of Frank Wildhorn's Bonnie and Clyde at The La Jolla Playhouse and continued the development at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida in 2010, and finally on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, where she was noted for her "powerful strength and ability to bring two dynamic and contrasting roles to life," in 2011–2012.[14] After its short run, she was cast in the Tony Award–winning revival of Anything Goes, starring Sutton Foster, which closed July 8, 2012.[15]

A Proper Place[edit]

In 2013, Becker reunited with composer Curtis Rhodes to write the new musical A Proper Place which received a private industry reading in September 2013 and was quickly selected for Goodspeed's Festival of New Musicals in January 2014. Becker writes the book and lyrics for the new musical that has been dubbed a cross between Downton Abbey and Gilligan's Island.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Gans, Andrew. "Bonnie & Clyde's Leslie Becker Will Star in Fireside Theatre's Hello, Dolly!". Playbill. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ BWW News Desk. "BONNIE & CLYDE 12/6". Broadway World. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Leslie Becker". Theater Mania. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ BroadwayWorldTV. "BWW TV Sneak Peek: BONNIE & CLYDE on Broadway – Production Montage!". Broadway World. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ BWW News Desk. "Fully-Staged Workshop of 'SIX OF ONE' Presented 5/16-27". Broadway World. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d BWW News Desk. "Leslie Becker to Perform 'All I Do is Sing' at Don't Tell Mama, 2/28". Broadway World. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ Nargi, Nar. "Boston Touring Company Is 'Wicked' Good". Broadway World. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d Conn, Suzy. "Leslie Becker: The Organized Actor". Blogway Baby. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Support for Musical Writers' Playground". Lance Winslow III Foundation. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ Weinstein, Setg. "Musical Writers' Playground". Seth Weinstein. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Musical Writers Playground". Standard Industrial Classification. Industry Business. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Leslie Becker". Biography. American Theatre Wing. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Leslie Becker". Actor, Writer, Coach: Leslie Becker – "The Organized Actor". Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Bonnie & Clyde Cast". World of Stage. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ Templeton, Penny. "Leslie Becker joins the cast of ANYTHING GOES on Boadway!". Penny Templeton. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]