Age & Hometown: “Thirty-something”; Chicago, Illinois
Current Role: A high-flying Broadway debut as Spider Goddess Arachne, the “voice of Peter Parker’s heart,” in Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark.
Quadruple Threat: As a three-year-old in Chi-Town, there was nothing shy about Lenk, who knew early on that her life would be spent on stage. “My first love was dance,” she recalls, “then musicals and plays in elementary school.” Soon Lenk’s creative juices overflowed onto any instrument lying around. “I started the viola when I was six. I was obsessed! And then there was the piano and the oboe,” she says, adding with a laugh, “I was dancing, singing, acting, playing music and driving my poor parents nuts.” Upon graduating from Northwestern University, Lenk drove herself nuts instead. “I began doing a lot of weeping, gnashing-of-teeth dramas,” she says, including Hedwig & the Angry Inch and a star turn as abused porn star Linda Lovelace in an L.A. production of Lovelace: A Rock Opera. “I settled into a little bit of a depression. My mother would say, ‘You need to do a comedy.’” Instead, along came a spider.
Fly Girl: When Lenk’s agent sent her the casting notice for Spider-Man, she was immediately drawn to Arachne’s uplifting power ballads “Turn Off the Dark” and “Rise Above,” but never dreamed of nabbing the role. “When I first auditioned, I thought I bombed it,” she reflects. “I ripped up my script and threw my water bottle like ‘I’m never acting again.’” She was wrong. Now Lenk couldn’t be happier to be making her Broadway debut as a character that inspires others, “the person in the show singing about getting rid of the fears and self loathing that drag you down,” she says of Arachne. “The message has a lot of resonance with fans.” And while Lenk spends a lot of time in the dark strapped in above the Foxwoods Theatre stage, there is, of course, one bright spot: “Reeve Carney is the only person that I get to look at eye to eye,” she says. “I’m lucky!”
YSBLM (You Should Be Like Me): Lenk echoes Arachne’s message of enlightenment away from the theater via a musical alter ego she calls Moxy Phinx, who sings girl-power songs with titles like “Aphrodite,” “YSBLM,” Only Me” and “Good Woman.” “She’s this character I developed to be the opposite of everything I am,” Lenk explains of the edgy, wig-wearing persona. “I think women, in general, tend to get concerned with being polite and well-mannered, and Moxy Phinx doesn’t care about being polite. She’s going to tell you what she thinks, and if you don’t like it…whatever!” On and off stage, Lenk is thrilled to be living out her career dreams. “I am really, really lucky I get to do what I do,” she says, adding that there is one more thing she'd like to check off her bucket list: “I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I made it until I get my name in a crossword puzzle. That would be something.”