Theater Chat with Leslie Ford

This month I was able to interview another great actress. If she was in a cast of 20, she would certainly shine brighter. She’s also very funny, warm and very smart. A mother of two adorable girls… I’m talking about Lesley Ford. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her on stage and her talent radiates. I asked her a few questions and found sentiment and depth.

NAME, AGE AND WHERE YOU WERE BORN? 

“Leslie Michelle Ford, age 34. I was born Lesley Gordon in Erie, PA but grew up in Girard.”

WHEN DID YOU FIRST WANT TO BE AN ACTOR? 

“In elementary school, I was cast in the Wizard of Oz as a tree. It was the start of a long and complex relationship with the stage.”

WHAT PLAY WAS NEXT? 

“Our Town. Worst play ever written.”

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AN ACTOR? 

“Since I was born, if you ask my family. I majored in theater at IUP, and acted a lot in high school. I took about 8 years off from acting while living in Utah. I directed a lot of children’ theater and was teaching acting to kids during that time, but didn’t get on stage again until moving back here in 2011.”

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PLAYS YOU WERE CAST IN? 

“Betty’s Summer Vacation and Pageant Play. Both were directed by Jeff Rodland, who is one of my favorite people in the world to work with.”

YOUR WORST? 

“Oscar and Felix. I did the female version of the Odd Couple in high school, and that was a much better production than this one, which is almost totally joyless for me.”

IS THERE A ROLE YOU WOULD LOVE TO PLAY? 

“Antigone. I would LOVE to do any Greek tragedy.”

DO YOU TEND TO LIKE COMEDY OR DRAMA? 

“I think there’s comedy to be found in drama, and vice versa. I’m comfortable with both, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done a “straight drama”. I think it was The Crucible in college. I do love a good dark comedy though.”

IS THERE A ROLE YOU RELATED TO PERSONALLY? 

“I try to find something to relate to in all the characters I play. That’s what I have to do to make their character relatable to the audience; chances are if I can empathize, so can most people.

I really related to my character Lexie in The Dixie Swim Club, largely due to her interaction with the three other characters. There was one scene between Lexie and Dinah, played by Kelly Rodland, where Lexie reveals that she has cancer. Kelly and I are friends and could imagine having that conversation in our real lives, so it was poignant for us.”

WHAT CHARACTER PUSHED YOU OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE? 

“The character I played in Murder at the Howard Johnson’s. I had to make out with two men, both of whom were played by close friends who are like brothers to me. So that was weird. After the initial awkwardness it was fine, but it was pretty late in the rehearsal process before we worked on those scenes.”

HAVE YOU DIRECTED? 

“Yes. I directed The Dixie Swim Club at the Riverside in April of 2012. I also directed a children’s theatre troupe in Salt Lake City called the Liberty Park Players, who performed Shakespeare adaptations at the Utah Arts Festival.”

DO YOU HAVE AN UPCOMING EVENT? 

“I’m planning an art show for my paintings at PACA sometime in the spring or summer.”

MY LAST QUESTION IS VERY IMPORTANT….DO YOU SQUEEZE YOUR TOOTHPASTE FROM THE END OR FROM THE MIDDLE?

“From the middle. I like it all willy-nilly like, mashed up into a tangle.”

Lesley Ford was wonderful. I had hundreds of questions I wanted to ask. She is a fascinating person. She is very talented and a joy to be around. I can only hope to see her in more productions in the future. The stage is where she belongs. I am just one fan from the many who can’t wait for her next project.

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