Monday, February 24, 2020

Performer Spotlight! Every so often, The Playground Theater likes to highlight a performer and give them a moment to talk about their experiences and joys in comedy. This week, we’ve chosen to give the spotlight to Leila Gorstein.

Q: What things have you been a part of at The Playground?

A: At The Playground I participated in the Mixer on Monday nights, and got to teach some of the mixer workshops with my indie team Alterboyz! Bryan Duff and Kevin Reader would run it, and they always made it SO much fun. Alterboyz also did a run of shows at The Playground, when we first became a team, where we got to perform in a run with the team Blue Angels for 3 weeks. Then shortly after that, we did a run of shows with Sean Price and Ollie Hobson when they were in an epic two-person group called Ginger Price. It was one of the most fun summers I’ve ever had in Chicago! I was also on The Playground team Riff Raff with some of my now best friends/favorite performers in Chicago! It was a stacked team, and we would rehearse on Saturday’s at 10am! Isn’t that insane? That’s how much we loved it!

Q: How long have you been performing?

A: I’ve been performing in Chicago for 5 and a half years!

Q: What drew you to comedy?

A: I was always super drawn to comedy, but I definitely dove into it in college. I auditioned over and over again for the plays in the theater department, and never got cast. I decided to audition for the improv groups on campus, and it was the best decision of my LIFE. I’ve always loved playing heightened characters and joking around with friends- and didn’t realize there was a real field for it! My best memories in college are with my improv group Awkward Silence Comedy lol.

Q: What’s been your proudest moment doing comedy?

A: My proudest moment doing comedy in Chicago?? That is a tough question. I think one of my proudest moments was performing with Alterboyz at Indiana University, where we headlined their comedy festival and taught workshops. It felt like a full circle moment since I graduated from IU, and then got to come back with my best friends to perform and teach! Also you know how when you go perform at colleges, and all the students are like “you’re MY HERO.” Honestly, the best way to get an inflated ego is by performing improv at a college festival. It’s honestly incredible??

Q: What upcoming shows do you have?

A: I’m getting ready to perform in the Black History Month Show at Second City on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting February 4th and running through March 11th! I also perform with the Harold team Artemis at iO and occasionally with my guilty pleasure team “Brady” with Erin Keif and Olivia Nielsen. Me and Jesse Kendall were on the playground team Riff Raff together, and we wrote and produced a Hallmark Parody film called Love Dump together! The feature length movie is coming out in February!!! Here is the link to the GoFundMe with more info and our trailer!

–Lizzie Kaniecki, The Playground Theater’s performance and special events blogger