Leah Isabel Tirado
"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being."
Leah grew up between the humble town of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and the beautiful island beaches of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. There is no doubt that those two diverse cultures have played a role in coloring Leah's performances. Adding the right kind of spice to the mix, this ever present performer commands the stage with her brilliant guise and soulful vocals.
Leah has been performing since her aunt Maribel started producing shows in their backyard when she was three. With Madison, Wisconsin as a backdrop to her education, Leah has been able to build her creative repertoire through the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Most of her time spent there was performing with the Wisconsin Singers, teaching at the Children's Theatre of Madison, and performing anywhere and everywhere she possibly could. She fondly recalls performing everything from lost rumba beats to classic madrigals, jazz standards to rock originals. Playing roles that range from a charismatic, hopeless romantic with a psychosomatic cold in Guys and Dolls to a crazed sociopath in Dog See's God; a sultry, exploitive film producer in Pr0ne, to a woman rapidly falling to the dangerous depths of her mental illness in The Tip of the Iceberg.
With a colorful arsenal of skills, she moved to Chicago where she has worked with wonderful companies such as The American Theatre Company, Halcyon, Hobo Junction, Strawdog Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, Emerald City Theatre, Barrel of Monkeys Productions, InGen Productions, and Underscore Theatre Company. In 2015 her first play EXIT was produced at the Greenhouse Theatre and from there, her career in mental health education through theatre took off. In 2016 she was commissioned by Lynn Todman at Lakeland Healthcare in St. Joseph, Michigan to create a youth arts program that works on behavior modification, and educates them about mental health. This project, Insight, was instigated by the community health needs assessment which determined that mental health was the number one issue in the community. Passionate about empowering our youth, this has been her most challenging and most rewarding experience.
Unable to take much time away from the stage, Leah finds opportunities to perform whenever she can. She is the lead singer of The Big Payback, a hard-hitting nine-piece band featuring a smoking four-man horn section () that tours around the Midwest. She's built a strong relationship with South Bend Civic and is eager to return this Spring to direct "West Side Story" in collaboration with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
"I was blessed with a birth and a death
And a gift or a curse somewhere in between
'Cause you're only as loud as the noises you make
And as big as the things that you dream"
-Tristan Prettyman "When it Rains"