Randolph Actress with Triple Skill Set Working Hard to Reach Childhood Dreams  

By Alexander Rivero, Staff Writer

It is a testament to how well an artist has mastered her discipline when she makes others feel as if though they can perform it effectively upon just watching her. Such is often the case with good performers. We get so caught up in their performances—how natural it comes across—that we forget the grueling work that it takes for them to so completely remove us from our daily lives while watching their story unfold before us. Randolph native and actress Lea Sevola, who is also a trained singer and dancer, spoke to her own work ethic in trying to become the best performer she can possibly be.

According to Sevola family legend, Lea sang before she ever spoke. Growing up her whole life in Randolph, she had the bug to perform from the earliest age, a bug her mother fed by signing her up for music classes early on, and exposing her to artistic programming both in and outside the home. During a trip to see The Lion King on Broadway, a six-year-old Sevola cried unconsolably at intermission, thinking the show was over and she would have to go home. Relieved when the stagelights came back on, at some point during the second half of the show, she pointed to the stage and told everyone within earshot that she wanted to “do that.” 

“It was history after that,” says Lea. “All of my free time from that moment on I dedicated to the goal of becoming a professional actress, and there was never a doubt about it. I participated in as many plays as I could, I sang choir in both middle school and high school.”   

She went on to Ithaca College, as she says, for “four lovely years”, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Musical Theatre. In the process, she classically trained as a soprano and learned to read music extremely well. Throughout her college years, she worked in regional theaters, something she has continued since graduating Ithaca. She has also been in television and film, and has toured all over the United States and parts of the world working for various theatre companies. 

 “I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to make performing my life’s work,” says Lea. “In the years since I graduated, where I’ve been able to travel and perform in Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, as well as across the U.S., I’ve been able to see how many different directions a performer can go. This has been the highlight of my recent years, knowing how much one can do as a performer, a bigger highlight even than the privilege of having performed in some wonderful places.” 

Her whole family hails from Western New York, and her parents came from Fredonia, just a few miles outside Buffalo. Her father signed up for the Army after college, and his first job post was in New Jersey. 

Filled with cherished memories of growing up in Randolph, at the moment of this interview, Lea best recalls the times that had something to do with a stage. 

She recalls, “On this one production, in the summer after my fifth grade, I was in a musical called Carrousel at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark. I was one of the younger kids there, and I remember looking up at the leads, who were all either college or high school aged. I can’t fully explain why, but I’ll never forget that experience. We were working in this show for like three months, and I suppose it was the first time that I really got a taste for what it was like to work as an actor day in and day out for an extended period of time. I fell in love with all of it. I think it may have very well been a turning point for me personally, where all that I had been trying to do finally took a shape, finally solidified for me. It’ll always be something that just sticks out in my mind, especially during these days that I’m more settled into the profession and looking to make a life out of it.”

    Regarding the three core disciplines in her repertoire—singing, acting, and dancing— Lea says she has been singing for the longest of the three, and it is the place where she feels more connected to herself as a performer. 

She did not start formal acting lessons until she was already in college, and hesitates to say she has been acting since she was a toddler. 

“Yes, it’s a different thing all together,” she says, referring to the acting she did while at Ithaca in comparison to acting she did while in grade and high schools. “Ithaca’s acting program is strong, and all of its other BFA programs are steeped in acting. So, when you take singing lessons, so much of it is acting. Teachers constantly asking the singer what his or her expression is, what the intention is behind whatever it is they are trying to convey. It’s all acting.”

As for her dancing, she says it is the discipline that challenges her the most. “It makes me want to get better and better at it. It’s very athletic. There is no question that dancers are athletes.”

Reflecting on whether she ever consciously stops working on one discipline to nurture the others: “As an artist in general, you’re never done with one discipline, ever, even while working on the other. Even the ones you think you’re good at you have to keep working on, and the more you do that, the more you begin to see how each feeds into the other. To know more about one is to know the others slightly more as well.” 

   Judy Garland and Julie Andrews rank high on Lea’s list of most admired artists, as well as some contemporary names like Mandy Gonzalez, Linda Eder, and Audra McDonald. 

For more information on Lea, check out her website: www.leasevola.com, or her Instagram account, @leasevola. 

 

 

 

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