Interview with Leesa Csolak

Divine Magazine
Divine Magazine 14 Min Read

Leesa Csolak has forty plus years working with the parents of talented children, teens and young adults. She has trained and managed many students, who as minors, went on to professional work in the arts, performing on Broadway, in Commercial Dance, in Film & on TV, Commercials, Voice Over, the Music Industry, in Print and Modeling. Leesa helps talented children, teens and young adults find professional talent agencies.

Tell us a bit about your company and why you do what you do.

LBC Talent’s ground-breaking Online Courses, Professional Kids and Teens 101; A Primer for Parents and Professional Biz 201; Young Adults, College Students & Graduates offer all the information, guidance, and tools necessary as well as Insider information no one else will share, to successfully navigate the professional performance industry on stage including Broadway, in film, television, commercial work, print, modeling, voice over, commercial dance, and more helping talented individuals obtain professional representation and ultimately have successful careers in the performing arts. My YouTube Channel, Makin’ It Happen with Leesa Csolak and Podcast, Makin’ It Happen; A Career in the Performing Arts give newcomers true and real information.

Welcome to my Channel; Makin' It Happen with Leesa Csolak
Makin’ It Happen; A Career in the Performing Arts Online Courses
https://www.lbctalent.thinkific.com

I am obsessed with helping talented people have the chance to reach their potential and their dreams of having a career in the performing arts. Why? Because I was one of them, raised by two disciplined, high functioning, academic parents who did not see the performing arts as a viable and respectable profession. There was acknowledgment of talent and drive, and support for my love of dance, voice and acting but only as a hobby.  I have a pre-med degree despite spending all my free teen and young adult time in NYC training and working in the performing arts, building a network, and being offered many opportunities most of which were negated as ‘something I did not need to be doing.’

Ultimately, I found my niche and the opportunity to scratch my artistic itch by opening a performing arts school in rural New Jersey. During 45 years of hiring staff members from NYC, many of whom I helped to secure professional representation ultimately setting them up for their own successful stage and film careers, and working with thousands of students, I can boast many who went on to professional careers. This along with my own sons finding success on Broadway, TV, Film, etc., set the groundwork for my in-person seminars, teaching parents and young adults, how to train, prepare, and navigate this industry safely and effectively. I have been doing the live seminar for seventeen years.  The online courses were the next logical step to offer my expertise to a wider audience.

What makes your business different to any others doing a similar thing?

What makes my business different is that I have been in the industry, and I have navigated the industry with my three children when they were 10, 6, and 8 months old and then again when the younger two were 15 and 10.  My youngest two children are now adults with successful careers in the performing arts.  

I have helped hundreds of parents with talented children, teens, and young adults to find success, getting them signed with a manager or an agent and working in the industry at the highest professional level. I have also found huge success helping numerous clients with the Collegiate audition process, which can be daunting.  

I’ve seen all sides of how the industry works having done producing, directing, choreography, casting, and so much more. I’ve navigated the space for my children dealing with agents and managers, casting, wardrobe fittings, stage rehearsals… I’ve had a child on Broadway multiple times, in films, on television, in commercials, print, voice over; all of it. 

I share the details of how the inside of this industry works so clients can make educated decisions when preparing and deciding what to do and when. I teach the specifics of how to create top industry assets to present to top casting directors, agents, and managers. I help clients see their true potential and guide them to success in securing professional representation.

If you had a magic wand, what would you change in the world?

If I had a magic wand, I would ensure that all people have the information necessary to follow their passion in life. Also, that they would have access to the mentors and training necessary and be given the confidence and self-esteem to pursue their dreams safely and effectively. 

I have been obsessed over the course of the past forty years about why the performance industry is such a closed-door industry with no real information available to the average person. The idea of trying to ‘break into’ the business is thwarted by most parents and adults throughout the United States and abroad, honestly due to the lack of available honest and true information.

Of those who are in the business whether just starting or successfully navigating a career, many remain confused and travel blindly. Much of which breeds a sense of fear and subsequent ownership of what knowledge and understanding they have, creating the need to keep information close to the chest. I have vowed to change that mantra.

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If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?

That I inspired people to go after their true potential in life.  That I helped them see their potential and possibilities and gave them the tools and guidance to succeed.

What trait do you think most benefits you in your line of work?

I consider myself a true renaissance girl. I love math, science, and writing.  This coupled with my love and affinity for the arts gave me a skill set beneficial to the analysis of many aspects of this business.  These skills have enabled much of my accomplishments.  I love to dig for information and come up with answers and reasons for decisions that can benefit my clients. I can also put myself in other’s shoes, see what their struggles are and understand what serves them.  This is important when trying to get what you want, in this case getting signed with an agent or manager.  I treat everyone with equal respect, whether at the top of the professional food chain or the bottom. I also do not put people on pedestals making it easy to expand my network.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Motivated.

I have been in business for four decades.  Some ventures have been learning experiences and I have had to pivot and adjust to changes that were beyond my control in many cases.  My reaction to adversity and conflict has always been to forge forward, work through, and learn; to always move on in a positive direction. Issues have always lit a fire in me to keep striving, work harder, and survive to fight another day. And in my mind, the glass is always half full. I am not easily discouraged.

What do you think is your greatest success in life?

My three boys.  Raising them has been an honour and I couldn’t be prouder of their individual achievements and who they are as confident, respectful and focused humans.

What would the closest person in your life say if we asked them, ‘What is the one characteristic that they totally dig about you, and the one that drives them insane?

I instill confidence and drive. I am to some, a workaholic, and I never stop pushing and that can be exhausting to some. But to me it isn’t work, it’s fun. It’s play. As a young child every chance I got, I would ‘play’ creating productions and TV shows in the garage and basement convincing friends and neighbors to be the actors and crew, creating sets, props and programs, with an audience of relatives happy to eat the snacks I provided on a rainy Sunday. 

What is the most useless talent you have?

Baton Twirling. It was an artistic activity I did competitively for quite some time. Kept me busy and out of trouble. There was much that I learned participating at the world class level of the activity as an athlete.  Later as a director, coach and choreographer, It taught me so much more than the skill itself.  It gave me many opportunities and the chance to work with Madonna and coach/choreograph on her and her dancers for her 2012 World MDNA Tour. But today having that talent is useless, unless I must defend myself and there’s a big stick available.  Also, I can deflect anything thrown at me.

What was the last thing you dressed up as for fancy dress?

I attended the 76th Tony Awards at the gorgeous United Palace in NYC last month on June 11th, 2023. I found out I had a ticket that morning. Both my sons, Kurt and Kevin were performing.  Kevin in the opening number with Ariana Debose and Kurt with Lea Michelle and the cast of Broadway’s Funny Girl. The ceremony, which ran unscripted due to the 2023 Writer’s Guild of America strike, featured dance without song in the opening production. The entire event was raw and real and Ariana was phenomenal as the host; a wonderful celebration of Broadway.

What would be a good theme song for your life?

The Overture from the Broadway Musical, Gypsy.

What historical Figure would you love to see in 21st century life?

Busby Berkeley.  I’d love to see the spectacle of his staging and choreography on Broadway and in film today.  I think choreographers and directors today mimic his production design today in many ways.

Would you rather be the one in a movie who gets the hero/heroine or the baddie with all the good lines?

For sure the antagonist.

If you could change anything about yourself what would it be?

I love helping people. But I enjoy my solitude. I sometimes wish I enjoyed ‘hanging out’ a bit more. I enjoy interesting and educated conversation and have little tolerance for small talk during my leisure. Time is a huge commodity in my mind, it always has been even when I was young. I don’t like to waste it. 

Which are cooler? Dinosaurs or Dragons?

Dragons for sure.

Do you shout out the answers at the TV whilst watching quiz shows?

Ha ha.  Yes. And I talk/yell at people on television sit coms, reality shows, the news, LOL.

What’s your favourite children’s story?

Hansel & Gretel by the Brothers Grimm – They are lost in the forest and use their ingenuity to escape from an evil woman who lures them to her home decorated in sweets. I do enjoy most of the Brothers Grimm tales even though they can be edgy and lean into fear and trickery.

If you were talking to a younger version of you, what advice would you give yourself?

Be bold. Hold true to your desires. Don’t try to keep everyone else happy. Do what makes you happy and fulfilled.

Instagram: leesacsolak_lbctalent

FB: Leesa Csolak

Pinterest: Makin’ It Happen | @leesacsolak

YouTube: Makin’ It Happen with Leesa Csolak

Podcast: Makin’ It Happen; A Career in the Performing Arts

LinkedIN: Leesa Csolak

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