A Good Matchmaker: Analisa Leaming talks about HELLO DOLLY!

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Long before swiping on dating apps, a professional matchmaker was the way to go for those seeking help  to find love. In Hello Dolly! Analisa Leaming plays the widow, Irene Molloy, who finds herself caught up in the meddling antics of matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi. Leaming talks about her journey from understudy to leading role and what she thinks is needed to be a good matchmaker.

Led by Tony-winning director Jerry Zaks, the tour features over 30 cast members and a full orchestra. Hello Dolly! will play at the Academy of Music February 19-March 1, 2020.

Debra Danese: What was your favorite job before becoming an actress?

Analisa Leaming: I love to teach and have been doing that in some capacity since I was 16 years old.

DD: What first drew you to your character, Irene Molloy?

AL: She’s a woman unafraid to speak her mind and challenge society’s opinion of what a woman should be…in the 1890s! Not your average ingénue.

DD: What was the journey like going from Broadway understudy to taking over the role on tour?

AL: In between Broadway and the tour, I starred as Rosalie Mullins in School of Rock on Broadway. It was amazing to come back to Hello, Dolly! and work with the incredible team to bring it to audiences across America.  

DD: What do you think makes someone a good matchmaker? 

AL: I would imagine they’d need to be incredibly intuitive and able to see through what people are actually saying. 

DD: You are the creator of “A Balancing Act” podcast. Tell us about that.

AL: I am interested in challenging the idea of the “starving artist.” In my podcast, I have wonderful, uplifting conversations with artists and thought leaders about the ups and downs of the business and how to love the journey…remembering that there is no destination where we’ve “made it.” 

DD: Three words that describe your life right now.

AL: Adventurous. Unconventional. Extraordinary. 

[National tour at the Academy of Music] February 19-March 1, 2020; kimmelcenterorg

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About the author

Debra Danese

Debra graduated with a degree in dance from the University of the Arts and also holds a B.A. in Arts Administration. She is accredited at the Master Level with the National Registry of Dance Educators. Debra has performed in Europe, Tokyo, Canada, and the Caribbean. She teaches and choreographs world-wide and has been an international guest artist in Switzerland, England, and Slovakia. Debra has been an Artist in Residence on five occasions in Norway where she showcased full length dance productions at the acclaimed Nordland Theatre. She has also presented an original dance production at the Elspe Festival in Germany. Debra has been featured in Dance, Dancer and Dance Teacher Magazines for her work in dance education. Additionally, she has been a contributing writer for Dance Studio Life Magazine since 2010.