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Wolf Hall Part One - Broadway

Deceit, betrayal & intrigue in the court of King Henry VIII.

Wolf Hall Star Lydia Leonard on Her Cabaret & Wicked Dreams and the Challenges of Corsets

Wolf Hall Star Lydia Leonard on Her Cabaret & Wicked Dreams and the Challenges of Corsets
Lydia Leonard photographed by Caitlin McNaney for Broadway.com at Lillies
'Anne Boleyn isn’t a sympathetic character, but I like that she isn’t a people pleaser.'

Age: 33

Hometown: London, England

Current Role: A powerhouse Broadway debut as Anne Boleyn, the calculating second wife of King Henry VIII in Wolf Hall: Parts One and Two.

Stage & Screen Cred: Before originating the role of Anne in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Wolf Hall across the pond, Leonard starred in London’s Frost/Nixon, Onassis, Time and the Conways and Hecuba. Her screen appearances include Whitechapel, Jericho and the BBC remake of The 39 Steps.

“I was born in Paris and my mother was a French teacher, but then I rebelled against my upbringing and studied Spanish in school. So now I just speak bad French and bad Spanish.”

“When I was a child, I wanted to be a jockey. I love horses, but it’s not practical to have one in London. I also wanted to be an accountant, which isn’t glamorous at all, but my dad was one, and I quite liked maths.”

“I’ve never done a musical and I don’t think I could do one, but I would love to play Sally Bowles in Cabaret. [I’ve been told] I’d make a great Elphaba in Wicked, but I might be punching above my weight there. I'd love to get a singing teacher while I’m here in New York.”

“Sunday nights are our big night out as a cast. Last Sunday we ended up at a drag queen show, and we forced Nat Parker, who plays King Henry, to go on stage. He won the impressions competition with his Sean Connery voice!”

“The costumes are quite heavy and I have 11 different dresses. There are a lot of references to Anne being flat-chested, but the trouble with corsets is they tend to push everything upwards, so it’s a nightly struggle trying to remain flat-chested while also wearing a corset.”

“Anne Boleyn isn’t a sympathetic character, but I like that she isn’t a people pleaser. She’s ambitious and manipulative, but she’s honest. I’m biased, but I don’t think a woman who has said ‘no’ to the King of England for six years would jump into bed with four of his best friends. She was a slick political mind.”

“It doesn’t happen very often, but if I forget whether I’m performing Part One or Part Two, I can glance down at the dress I’m wearing and that will tell me which show I’m in. So it’s in our dresser’s hands, really. If they put me in the wrong dress, maybe I’d come on and say the wrong lines! [Laughs.] There’s always that risk.”

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