Twelve-year-old Cassady Leonard made her Broadway debut as Jane Banks in Mary Poppins on June 14, 2008. Ever since, this spunky star-in-the-making has been juggling school and just being a kid with the demands of a Broadway show.
She shared a recent day with Playbill readers.
"C'mon, Cassady…shower!" Every morning I wake up to the sound of my mother's voice saying that. I take a shower, get dressed, brush my teeth, do my hair...
Out the door to the bus stop. I text my friends. In my seat, I try and prepare myself for the day ahead. 2:40 PM
"Class dismissed!" Everyone is booking to their lockers and can't wait for football practice, dance class, play dates… not me! I'm off to NYC, for what I call my "seven-hour extracurricular activity." When the bus drops me off at home, I have an hour and a half to do homework.
I hang out with my sister and ask her about her day. I pack my purse with tiny things that I'll need for that night (Chapstick, Flip, cell phone, Jamba card). I always have my iPod and on my way into the city, I have to warm up my voice so it's ready for the show. I have an amazing relationship with my mom, so after warm-ups, we talk about everything!
I need really good protein and energy for the show because Jane Banks is such a demanding role. My favorite restaurant is Zen Palate. The people there are so nice, and they even know my order.
Call time! I sign in and say hi to Olive Thomas, the New Amsterdam Theatre's resident ghost (we share a birthday). Maya, my dresser, lays out my bloomers, petticoat, stockings and a cami. Then, up to hair, where Matty makes my hair look a-ma-zing! After that, makeup: just a little blush and concealer. Now...SHOWTIME!
"Places, everyone!" Every time I hear this announcement, I seriously can't contain myself. This sense of pure excitement runs through my body, and I can't wait to begin belting it out on the big Broadway stage!
9:30 PM: Intermission
Rushing to get a hair touch-up and a costume switch (same dress, no stockings). I love being with the Mary Poppins cast members. I am always learning from them and laughing with them. When they call places for the second act, I meet up with Christina, my wrangler (and friend), and my brother-from-another-mother, Michael Banks.
10:45 PM: Curtain call
I am breathless but excited. The marvelous show has ended. A part of my mirror is dedicated to the amount of shows I have done, so I mark off another, get back into my regular clothes, sign autographs, sometimes give a backstage tour and then am off to the parking garage. I can't wait to get home.
Home. I can't wait to see my dad. He's the best ever, and I always hug him and tell him about things that happened that night. I get tucked into my pink bed, and my light flicks off. I fall asleep, knowing that anything can happen if I let it!