Nick Lehan


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EP 198: Nick Lehan (autogenerated)

Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You 

[00:00:01] booked 

[00:00:02] it. Episode 198.

[00:00:06] Oh, 

[00:00:07] okaay. 

[00:00:07] Everybody. 

[00:00:08] I am excited to introduce my guest today. Nick Lehan, are you ready for this Nick?

[00:00:16]Nick Lehan: [00:00:16] Yes, I am 

[00:00:17] Dane Reis: [00:00:17] Brilliant. Nick is an award winning

[00:00:21] American actor who has been lucky enough to perform across the country. Nick is a third generational

[00:00:26] performer who cut 

[00:00:27] his teeth 

[00:00:28] in the 

[00:00:28] rich 

[00:00:28] artistic community.

[00:00:30] That is Washington DC. He toured the country with. Peter and the star 

[00:00:35] catcher and has performed at

[00:00:36] places like the Kennedy center and

[00:00:38] the signature theater to name a few outside of performing. And Nick has found 

[00:00:43] a passion 

[00:00:44] for arts 

[00:00:44] education leading to 

[00:00:46] the birth of the creative

[00:00:48] artist network and educational experience.

[00:00:50] That centers 

[00:00:51] process over product. Nick. That is a

[00:00:55] quick intro of who you are and

[00:00:57] what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about

[00:01:00] yourself, fill in the gaps and a little bit more about 

[00:01:04] what you do as 

[00:01:05] professional in this crazy industry. 

[00:01:09]Nick Lehan: [00:01:09] Oh, geez. I mean, where to begin, right? So like, so you touched on some of the basics, but like, That’s kind where I start when I described myself, I mean, I came from a performing arts family.

[00:01:20] So everyone was either doing their thing eight chosen the week, whether it was up here in New York or in DC or on tour, or they were Ching acting techniques at the local colleges and universities. So. I I grew up backstage or in the classroom. It’s a pretty big identifying feature. Uh, for me , uh, where I grew up is , um, a small town called Glen Glendale.

[00:01:45]It’s a palindrome it’s spelled the same way, frontwards and backwards. 

[00:01:51] Yeah. 

[00:01:51] It’s smack dab between like Baltimore and DC. It’s. It’s it’s, it’s just a rich and vibrant artistic community. And I mean, I was, I was lucky enough, as you said, to have a very, very busy career in DC for about 10 years before I decided to move to New York after touring.

[00:02:08] And , um, and now I’m located in hell’s kitchen in my. Tiny, but beautiful little railroad apartment.  So you mentioned the creative artists network. I mean, I guess we start with the pandemic, right? Like it did for like, uh, most people, I guess it forced me to kind sit with my pieces in a way and kind of evaluate, you know, like you know, the world had stopped. Uh, the great machine that is the American theater stopped. And, and I guess, I mean, like we all were, we were all wondering what our future held, especially arts workers and, and one day, my best friend Allen Wiggins T kind of, he called me out of the blue and asked me if we wanted to kind of dive into our teaching grapes. Um, Alan and I, along with Caroline Bowman, we had talked for years about starting our own program and we did, so we started the creative artists network, which like you said, it , uh, senators process over product.

[00:02:59] And since launching in October, 2020, We’ve partnered with the likes of the Kennedy center, the Hippodrome foundation, the Hennepin theatre trust along with a couple of other regional theaters in high schools. And I got to tell ya it has been a transformative experience for me , uh, for, for me and my art.

[00:03:17]I mean, I have a renewed passion for art form and I’m, I’m just so inspired by like our community and our search for authenticity, especially in this. Moment in time, this watershed pandemic. Um, so yeah, you find me exactly where I am right

[00:03:32] now, right here.

[00:03:34] Dane Reis: [00:03:34] perfect. I love, 

[00:03:34] I love that journey in the dream and having it all come to reality. And, you know, I think sometimes even with this podcast, 

[00:03:40] for

[00:03:40] instance , it’s,

[00:03:41] it’s one of those things that was always

[00:03:44] in my 

[00:03:44] head. I’m like, I

[00:03:45] want to do 

[00:03:45] this thing, but  just happened to be fortunate that I was I was busy. I was booked and working and,

[00:03:50]you know, the

[00:03:50] pandemic really just put the brakes on everything. I was like, Oh , well, here we go. This is the moment. This is the time to

[00:03:56] make this 

[00:03:56] work. 

[00:03:57] Nick Lehan: [00:03:57] Right. Exactly. I mean, we, we as artists always, or at least I was told growing up, what is your brass ring them to be? You know what I mean? Be like, what’s that thing that’s going to be between in, in between gigs and I, and I have been lucky enough to find a couple of those, but none that were my own, you know, one word where I had agency and.

[00:04:15] Say and what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. Right. Um, and I mean, after shows, we would all meet up at bars and just be like, Oh, like I just, we want to do this. And our, our pandemic pivot included adding to the multihyphenate that is being an artist in the, in this timeframe is being teaching artists.

[00:04:34] And it’s just been so rewarding.

[00:04:36] So good. 

[00:04:37]Dane Reis: [00:04:37] Yeah, Could not agree . More. Well, Well, let’s move on to our first

[00:04:41] section here and Nick, look, I am a sucker for a good 

[00:04:46] quote. 

[00:04:47] What 

[00:04:48] is your favorite 

[00:04:48] quote You’d 

[00:04:49] like to share with

[00:04:49] everyone? 

[00:04:50] Nick Lehan: [00:04:50] Oh man, I’m a sucker for a good quote too. I mean, there are, so there are too many, there really are, I 

[00:04:57] think folk guys.

[00:04:58] So it’s a really, it’s literally , um, it’s, it’s tough. It’s tough to pick one. I think if I had to pick one, I’d have to pick one of  my grandfather’s, you know, keep it sweet and simple and personal. I mean, in his quote and what he used to say all the time was give yourself permission. So like,  I look up to my grandfather for everything.

[00:05:15] He was a prominent figure in the DC theater community and I idolized everything that he did and how he did everything. I mean, I mean, he used to tell acronyms all the time and, and meet when he would coach me. And I believe me, we worked on all the time. I used to constantly ask us and ask artists to give themselves permission.

[00:05:36] And I mean, I always interpreted it as a means to own the objective or own your objective. So, yeah. And so imagine, imagine myself. So like one day. He used that phrase for something in my life, you know, like outside of monologue overseeing coaching. And I was kind of, I was blown away. It was, it was an invitation for ownership and.

[00:05:55]I think the context of the conversation, it was like ownership of responsibility, but that’s like another conversation that we don’t have time for. But the point was I saw that direct correlation between acting and real life experiences. And I mean, that’s, I mean, that’s, that’s kinda like what it all is. It’s like, like, it’s really meta, but that acting is a reflection of real life or, or like what , um, that Shakespeare quote.

[00:06:22] Like the , um, the purpose of playing was an, is to hold a mirror up to nature, you know, like that’s what we do , so,  so yeah. Give, give

[00:06:29] yourself permission. 

[00:06:30] Dane Reis: [00:06:30] Yeah, 

[00:06:30] I find 

[00:06:31] what it’s, 

[00:06:31] what’s really ironic about that. And you,


[00:06:33]kind of 

[00:06:33] said it yourself is


[00:06:35] when we 

[00:06:36] are

[00:06:36] practicing our 

[00:06:37] craft 

[00:06:38] and we’re 

[00:06:38] acting and we’re doing 

[00:06:39] the 

[00:06:39] arts thing, right. right. Or the actor thing , 

[00:06:42] uh, 

[00:06:42] We were separating 

[00:06:43] actually what we’re doing. We,

[00:06:44] We, we

[00:06:44] kind of put it on its own little pedestal.

[00:06:46] You’re like,

[00:06:46] Oh, 

[00:06:46] you 

[00:06:46] must, be present, give yourself 

[00:06:48] permission. You’re like, 

[00:06:49] hold on. Like, this is just 

[00:06:50] normal 

[00:06:51] life stuff, man. 

[00:06:53] I mean, the penny is going to drop for so many people listening to this, 

[00:06:55] I 

[00:06:56] think, cause it seems 

[00:06:57] so 

[00:06:57] obvious, 

[00:06:58] but 

[00:06:58] it’s something that we just don’t

[00:06:59] do.


[00:07:00] we

[00:07:00] remove 

[00:07:01] ourselves from 

[00:07:02] almost the 

[00:07:03] ourselves in the 

[00:07:04] present, 

[00:07:04] in this of,

[00:07:05] of what we’re even trying to 

[00:07:06] do. 

[00:07:06]Nick Lehan: [00:07:06] Constantly constantly. And I have spoken to this, or I’ve spoken to this point with many students. It’s like, like, you have some, at some point you have to forget the pomp and circumstance of training and you just have to be all that stuff will naturally just in, you will be informed in your subconscious with all of that brilliance that you have paid so much money for, but what people , what, what, what gets people moving with?

[00:07:30] What moves hearts and minds is simple. Authenticity. And that can only be, if you give yourself permission just to be, to

[00:07:38] be 

[00:07:38] yourself. 

[00:07:39] Dane Reis: [00:07:39] yeah, 

[00:07:39] 100%. Love that. Thank 

[00:07:42] you 

[00:07:42] for

[00:07:42] that.

[00:07:43] And let’s 

[00:07:44] get into this 

[00:07:45] next 

[00:07:45] section 

[00:07:45] here. And Nick, 

[00:07:46] of course, you’re an entertainer. I’m sure. And entertainer. 

[00:07:49] And I think that 

[00:07:50] you’d agree 

[00:07:51] that this 

[00:07:51] industry can be 

[00:07:53] one of the 

[00:07:53] most 

[00:07:54] subjective, 

[00:07:55] brutally, 

[00:07:56] honest,

[00:07:56] personally, emotional industries 

[00:07:58] in existence.

[00:07:59] And you know, you know, as well 

[00:08:01] as

[00:08:01] I, 

[00:08:02] that in order to 

[00:08:03] create and have

[00:08:03] a 

[00:08:03] successful career 

[00:08:04] in this 

[00:08:05] industry, 

[00:08:05] like 

[00:08:05] your having now, 

[00:08:06] takes 

[00:08:07] a 

[00:08:07] lot. 

[00:08:08] Of 

[00:08:08] dedication 

[00:08:09] and hard work. 

[00:08:09] And 

[00:08:09] while 

[00:08:10] yes, there is 

[00:08:11] an 

[00:08:11] outrageous amount of

[00:08:12] fun 

[00:08:12] and 

[00:08:12] excitement doing 

[00:08:13] what we do. 

[00:08:15] There are 

[00:08:15] also 

[00:08:16] our fair

[00:08:16] share of 

[00:08:17] obstacles, challenges, 

[00:08:18] and 

[00:08:18] failures.

[00:08:19] We 

[00:08:19] are 

[00:08:19] going 

[00:08:20] to 

[00:08:20] experience and we’re going 

[00:08:21] to have to 

[00:08:22] move forward through. 

[00:08:23] So tell us, 

[00:08:24] what is 

[00:08:24] one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced 

[00:08:28] in your career and how 

[00:08:29] did 

[00:08:29] you come 

[00:08:30] out 

[00:08:30] the 

[00:08:30] other 

[00:08:30] side 

[00:08:31] better 

[00:08:32]Nick Lehan: [00:08:32] Oh my God, if you’re not failing your, not

[00:08:37] trying to know your goal failure is the goal I D we could do.

[00:08:42] We can get so caught up in this world, which failure and what, what we feel like is like a reflection of who we are when we fail. And, and I mean, like, Man. I would rather watch someone fail daring to be great than coast by making a safe choice. And I mean, that speaks for like my life preferences and my preferences with art.

[00:09:00]I mean, yeah. So like when I first moved to the city, I had these visions. For how everything was supposed to go. It was the script that most of the people in my tribe had been lucky enough to follow. And I quickly discovered that while I had my fair share of could have bins and close calls. I mean, my story just didn’t unravel.

[00:09:19] Like Like everyone else’s was and slowly but surely I, I, my intense desire and want, and some might even say ego kind of pushed me forward. I mean, I. I no longer just waited for my agent to call me and tell me I had an appointment. I was proactive. I mean, I became very strategic. I evolved into the strategic thinker that approached additions and my relationships with casting offices, which, which is a very important aspect of the hustle, but not the main one.

[00:09:46]I mean, I also became an open call themes, you know, taking every chance I could to get in the room and getting strategic with that. I really sharpened my hustle. And I mean, I’m incredibly to have that in my tool kit for the rest of my career, but I think, I think more importantly, I think, because things hadn’t gone to plan, I fell back in love with the process, you know, like I started working with coaches or my material and callbacks, and then I, I started taking voice lessons and seriously I was, I was.

[00:10:15] Eagerly looking on classes to take and, you know, just stretch and play. And then all of a sudden I had grown artistic roots with like-minded mentors who were helping me and shaping me and guiding me to be the artist that I am today. And my curiosity for our art form is peaked because of this. And my art is forever changed.

[00:10:36]So. While I still have a lot of things that I wanted to do with my career. And I’m looking forward to in my career. I am, I’m encouraged not by like the momentum we feel when we book it, but like thrill the pursuit, you know, the grinding of the acts or , um, Yeah. Our art form is as, as we were kind of talking earlier with the holding the mirror up to nature, it’s a great examination.

[00:10:57] Of the human experience and condition. And I have a specific and unique perspective that contributes to that. And I wouldn’t have that if it weren’t for the artistic roots that I have grown because of this quote unquote setbacks that I’ve

[00:11:13] experienced. 

[00:11:15] Yeah. 

[00:11:16] Dane Reis: [00:11:16] Yeah, absolutely. I’m so glad 

[00:11:18] you 

[00:11:18] brought that up in just 

[00:11:19] failure or not 

[00:11:21] quite

[00:11:22]realizing this, 

[00:11:23] this, you 

[00:11:23] know, this script that we 

[00:11:24] had 

[00:11:24] in 

[00:11:24] our 

[00:11:24] head, 

[00:11:25] as 

[00:11:25] you said , 

[00:11:25] uh, unfolding in

[00:11:26] front of 

[00:11:26] us. 

[00:11:27] And 

[00:11:27] it’s 

[00:11:27] something 

[00:11:27] that 

[00:11:28] we all.

[00:11:28]are going to 

[00:11:29] have to deal 

[00:11:29] with in 

[00:11:30] some 

[00:11:30] way, 

[00:11:30] shape or form. And 

[00:11:31] it really is what

[00:11:32] keeps driving 

[00:11:34] you forward.

[00:11:35] And I also 

[00:11:36] really 

[00:11:36] liked 

[00:11:36] that. You 

[00:11:36] talked 

[00:11:37] about, 

[00:11:37] Hey, I started taking more ownership of 

[00:11:39] my 

[00:11:40] circumstance. I didn’t just 

[00:11:41] rely on my agent 

[00:11:42] or just rely on my 

[00:11:42] manager to say, 

[00:11:44] Hey, Nick, you 

[00:11:45] got an audition today. And 

[00:11:46] you’re like, sweet. 

[00:11:48] That’s 

[00:11:48] great. And 

[00:11:48] it’s lovely, wonderful, wonderful resources 

[00:11:51] and tools, 

[00:11:51] but even 

[00:11:52] more 

[00:11:52] so 

[00:11:52] the way.

[00:11:53] This whole industry is getting 

[00:11:55] digitized and virtualized. 

[00:11:57] This, 

[00:11:57] uh, We really, really, truly

[00:12:00] have to 

[00:12:00] take complete 

[00:12:01] ownership. 

[00:12:02] Yes. 

[00:12:02] That is your agent, your manager, one resource, but 

[00:12:04] you 

[00:12:05] go hustle. 

[00:12:06] You book the gig. If you need them 

[00:12:07] to

[00:12:07] negotiate your 

[00:12:08] contract 

[00:12:08] for 

[00:12:08] you, 

[00:12:08] because that’s 

[00:12:09] the contract 

[00:12:10] you 

[00:12:10] have 

[00:12:10] between 

[00:12:10] them.

[00:12:10] Great. 

[00:12:11] Throw it to them and say, look, I 

[00:12:12] booked this 

[00:12:13] and 

[00:12:14] you 

[00:12:14] take 

[00:12:14] it 

[00:12:14] from 

[00:12:14] here, 

[00:12:15] but you need.

[00:12:15]You need to 

[00:12:16] take ownership

[00:12:16] of that. 

[00:12:18]Nick Lehan: [00:12:18] Yeah, absolutely. Cause, cause, cause I’m not a businessman, I’m a

[00:12:21] business man. You know, You know, I love that quote. I love that. all the time. Well, listen, Hey JZ. Know what he was talking to him about? You know what I’m saying? So like it’s, it’s. It’s one of those things where it’s like, what’s your business, an agent or a manager, an agent, or a manager is a fantastic resource to have, but it’s not the only resource that you need.

[00:12:41] You know what I mean? And they’re going to be submitting you and developing relationships and that’s important. But at the end of the day, what kind of art, what kind of projects do you want to work on? You have agency and you have, you have a laptop, you have resources and information to be able to look up and see and fight for the things that you want to

[00:12:59] do.

[00:12:59] Dane Reis: [00:13:00] absolutely. 

[00:13:01] And 

[00:13:01] I do also appreciate ,

[00:13:03] uh, That 

[00:13:03] failure 

[00:13:04] is 

[00:13:05] looks maybe a 

[00:13:05] little bit different, or it 

[00:13:06] can be a 

[00:13:06] bit more 

[00:13:06] scary 

[00:13:07] in the 

[00:13:08] landscape today with everything 

[00:13:10] being 

[00:13:11] digital, everything 

[00:13:12] being on 

[00:13:12] social 

[00:13:12] media, 

[00:13:13] everything 

[00:13:13] needing to be 

[00:13:14] so brilliant in 

[00:13:15] seven seconds on 

[00:13:16] Tik 

[00:13:16] TOK. 

[00:13:17] you know, it’s, 

[00:13:18] there is a lot of 

[00:13:19] pressure 

[00:13:19] there, 

[00:13:19] but 

[00:13:20]try not to 

[00:13:21] let 

[00:13:21] that 

[00:13:21] be 

[00:13:22] discouraging to go do 

[00:13:23] your thing 

[00:13:23] and 

[00:13:24] know

[00:13:25] that 

[00:13:25] failure 

[00:13:25] is part of

[00:13:26] the process and enjoy that process as 

[00:13:28] much as possible.

[00:13:29] Nick Lehan: [00:13:29] There are no wasted ventures, man, like even like,   you can learn something in the absence. So if you make a choice or if you do something and you realize that that choice or that action doesn’t resonate with you, whether it be on stage or off stage, you learn something in that moment about what you actually want.

[00:13:46] You know what I mean? Like it’s all, it’s all a formative process. It all happens for you. I mean, at

[00:13:49] least that’s how I try to look at it. 

[00:13:51] Dane Reis: [00:13:51] Yeah, 

[00:13:51] for sure. 

[00:13:52] And then I 

[00:13:52] think also when 

[00:13:53] it 

[00:13:53] comes 

[00:13:53] to failure, 

[00:13:54] I just had this 

[00:13:55] idea that just kind of


[00:13:56] in 

[00:13:56] my 

[00:13:56] head 

[00:13:56] for whatever reason. 

[00:13:57] And , 

[00:13:57] uh,

[00:13:57] when 

[00:13:57] we 

[00:13:57] have, 

[00:13:58] I 

[00:13:58] think, look at life 

[00:13:59] as kind of 

[00:13:59] this

[00:13:59] big. 

[00:14:00]Road, right. We’re 

[00:14:01] climbing 

[00:14:02] up 

[00:14:02] where 

[00:14:02] we 

[00:14:02] hit 

[00:14:02] these peaks.

[00:14:03] Right. We go 

[00:14:03] off 

[00:14:03] and we’re 

[00:14:04] like, 

[00:14:04] Oh, we, we achieve whatever 

[00:14:05] it 

[00:14:05] is 

[00:14:05] that 

[00:14:05] we 

[00:14:06] were 

[00:14:06] working for.

[00:14:07] And then 

[00:14:07] inevitably

[00:14:08] we 

[00:14:08] go 

[00:14:08] into some kind of a slump, 

[00:14:09] right. And

[00:14:09] it 

[00:14:09] goes 

[00:14:10] down and 

[00:14:11] there’s 

[00:14:11] all this peaks and valleys 

[00:14:12] right. 

[00:14:12] Of 

[00:14:12] our careers and where 

[00:14:14] we’re 

[00:14:14] trying to go. 

[00:14:15] And 

[00:14:16] so 

[00:14:16] often we look 

[00:14:17] at.


[00:14:19] of


[00:14:20] valleys. 

[00:14:21] We 

[00:14:21] look at all 

[00:14:22] of the things 

[00:14:22] that just aren’t

[00:14:23] going 

[00:14:23] well for us. 

[00:14:24] But 

[00:14:25] what 

[00:14:25] we have 

[00:14:25] to 

[00:14:25] you try to remember is if you look 

[00:14:27] out over 

[00:14:27] the horizon, like 

[00:14:28] all you see are peaks 

[00:14:29] and 

[00:14:29] to 

[00:14:29] try 

[00:14:29] to concentrate 

[00:14:31] on 

[00:14:31] where you’ve come from versus where you’re 

[00:14:33] trying 

[00:14:33] to 

[00:14:33] get to. 

[00:14:34]And you can say, wow, 

[00:14:35] I 

[00:14:35] have accomplished

[00:14:36] this this

[00:14:36] and this 

[00:14:37] and 

[00:14:37] use those building 

[00:14:38] blocks 

[00:14:39] is momentum instead 

[00:14:40] of, 

[00:14:40] Oh, that one didn’t 

[00:14:42] work 

[00:14:42] out. 

[00:14:42] Oh,

[00:14:43]I got cut from that 

[00:14:44] audition.

[00:14:44]Uh, Look

[00:14:44] at 

[00:14:44] all 

[00:14:45] the 

[00:14:45] good things that you’ve 

[00:14:45] accomplished in your life and build on 

[00:14:47] those. 

[00:14:48] Nick Lehan: [00:14:48] Absolutely. And hindsight’s 2020. I mean, sometimes you can look back and you can see the beautiful pathway that you’ve crossed because of some of the failures and some of the successes, it’s all part of the algorithm.

[00:14:59] You know what I mean? It’s all part of the experience. And also though I do have to say. If you were just staring at your, if you were staying in your lane, you would probably be pretty pleased with yourself. It’s when we get into this habit and as actors, we are almost trained to do this, to come of comparison and comparison is the thief of joy.

[00:15:21] It just , it, it , why, why would we compare it to someone else? Like, yes, someone might have something that we want to aspire to, but it’s not yours. And what cures is, it’s something that is just inherently, it’s yours. You get to have your own experiences in your own peak, your own valleys. It is your journey.

[00:15:39]So. It’s just, you gotta

[00:15:39]stay, stay in your lane. 

[00:15:41] Dane Reis: [00:15:41] Yeah, 

[00:15:41] stay in 

[00:15:42] your 

[00:15:42] lane. 

[00:15:43] So 

[00:15:43] good. 

[00:15:44] And let’s move on

[00:15:46] to 

[00:15:47] this 

[00:15:47] section and to

[00:15:48] a time 

[00:15:49] that 

[00:15:49] I 

[00:15:49] like to call 

[00:15:50] your

[00:15:51] spotlight 

[00:15:52] moment. 

[00:15:53] That 

[00:15:53] one 

[00:15:54] moment in time you realized, 

[00:15:55] yes, 

[00:15:56] I 

[00:15:57] am 

[00:15:57] going 

[00:15:57] to be an entertainer for 

[00:15:59] a 

[00:15:59] living or 

[00:16:00] maybe 

[00:16:00] it was, 

[00:16:01] yes, 

[00:16:02] This is what I need to be 

[00:16:03] doing 

[00:16:03] in 

[00:16:03] this industry. 

[00:16:04] Tell us about 

[00:16:05] that. 

[00:16:05]Nick Lehan: [00:16:05] Um, and I, you know, it’s , this, this was always the battle for me growing up, because there were so many different reference points of my huge family , uh, performing. And , uh, my parents chosen family of all actors that have all gone on and done the thing on the Broadways or in DC. And , uh, like I always had this fight with it because I almost felt like.

[00:16:28]I couldn’t choose my own path or something like that. I don’t know. It was very complicated. I was a moody teenager, but I think my spotlight moment, it, that moment or that, that clip happened when I was really young. So like, I was always in third or fourth grade and like the elementary school was putting on like a variety show or a talent show or something like that.

[00:16:50] And like my friends and I, we all wanted to do something, but like, you know, we didn’t know we were going to do, but we signed up. And, you know, kind of just went along with it. And I liked to, I liked to imagine it being like we were sitting at my friend’s house, eating pizza, drinking soda, and playing N 64 , um, which is a video game council or thing.

[00:17:09] It’s a video game for all

[00:17:10] you kids out there 

[00:17:12] for the OGs.

[00:17:14] Yeah. But like with you, 

[00:17:15] I’m 

[00:17:16] with you 

[00:17:16] at the time. Weird Al Yankovic bitch came out with this single Lola. Lola was on. Yeah. Right. So we did that and that we were like, Oh, we gotta do this. I don’t know if that’s how it happened. But I liked to paint that picture in my head and, you know, we didn’t plan anything.

[00:17:31] So my mom and pops in and she choreographed the skit and I don’t really remember much. I just, I don’t remember being nervous or scared. I don’t remember the rehearsal. I just kind remember being a little excited. I remember taking a moment to think about how my mom or grandfather would do it, but like the start of it, it was all a blurb.

[00:17:51] But I do distinctly remember the feeling when it clicked, you know, it was , uh, it was like , um, it was an outer body experience. Like all kind of kind of went into slow motion. And I remember the sensation of being lost in the character that I had made, but also found. In that character, you know, you know, and I just saw, I saw for the first time what the ensemble and the togetherness was happening with the choreo and how we all were this in the shared moment with the audience.

[00:18:24] And it was. We ran it together. So like the thing ends and like the tiny gym erupted with applause naturally. 

[00:18:33] But I mean that, wasn’t what got me that, wasn’t what got me. It was, it was that sense of togetherness of community. I think, you know, and I remember thinking, I remember thinking when everyone was screaming, I was like, Oh, this is why my family does this, but I’ve been chasing that sensation

[00:18:44] ever since I clicked. 

[00:18:45] Oh, 

[00:18:46] such a good story. 

[00:18:47] I 

[00:18:47] love 

[00:18:47] that you brought up 

[00:18:48] in 64. I 

[00:18:48] remember playing 

[00:18:49] Mario 

[00:18:49] kart 

[00:18:50] and 

[00:18:50] being 

[00:18:50] blown 

[00:18:50] away. 

[00:18:51] And 

[00:18:52] I 

[00:18:52] also, 

[00:18:52] and 

[00:18:53] then weird 

[00:18:53] out, 

[00:18:53] get out of

[00:18:54] here. 

[00:18:55] Come 

[00:18:55] on, listen, , 

[00:18:56] take, take, take a trip down memory lane with me. 

[00:18:57] Listen. I mean, those are all, those are all bangers right there. Also in the pandemic. My roommate and I.

[00:19:04] Definitely had to get an N 64 so we

[00:19:06] could play some Mario cart 

[00:19:08] for sure. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:19:12] Well, Well, so piggyback on 

[00:19:14] that 

[00:19:15] and 

[00:19:15] let’s talk about 

[00:19:16] your 

[00:19:17] number 

[00:19:17] one, booked 

[00:19:18] it 

[00:19:19] moment. 

[00:19:20] Walk 

[00:19:20] us through that day, the auditions and call backs. 

[00:19:23] If 

[00:19:23] they

[00:19:23] happen to be a part of 

[00:19:24] it, 

[00:19:24] what 

[00:19:25] was going on 

[00:19:25] in 

[00:19:25] your life? And what about that moment? 

[00:19:27] that makes 

[00:19:27] it 

[00:19:27] your favorite?

[00:19:29] Booked it moment.

[00:19:31] Book dead. I love that. I , um, Oh, I know which one I’m going to talk about. I think. Okay. So I was doing a musical called the fixed at signature theater, which is like in Washington, DC. And I’m the only theater center I asked if I wanted to audition for their upcoming production of a meetup.

[00:19:51] And. I think if I’m not mistaking or if I’m not mistaken, the audition was on double show date, which is rude,

[00:19:57]which is rude. Um, yeah , we, we don’t do that, but, you know. Okay. So I absolutely, I absolutely love the show, but the real kicker, I think, or the reason why I was excited was the chance to get in front of , um, will Davis, the director and Christopher D was the choreographer.

[00:20:11] And okay. If you don’t know who those people are, you got look them up, look them up. So Will’s the director. Who he primarily focuses on like the physicality of a piece or he works through viewpoints and new works. And I mean, I had seen a play of his and the previous season. It was beyond amazing. And I mean, Chris is a Tony nominated dancer and he’s like a genius choreographer.

[00:20:34]I mean, I’m not like jacking up the credits to say like that I’m fierce and I booked it. I’m giving you context because I. Am not a dancer. I do not dumps. I am athletic and I have rhythm, but I mean, it it’s a skillset that I’m still practicing. So like, I like it. I like to say, I can give you an energetic, double on a

[00:20:55] good day. Yes, yes. And energetic and energetic one. Not necessarily clean but energetic. So the audition process was meat for me was like fully submitting to this experience. You know, I was, I was in a room with people that can dance and I just, and I gave myself permission. To do my best. So let’s back to the quote.

[00:21:18] Exactly. And when I did that, I surprised myself. I was, I was more than hanging with them. I was doing it and doing it well, I was working. Yeah. It’s as they say, you know, and when I got the call, I felt on top of the world, still, like the show turned out to be amazing. And I was dancing with the best of them.

[00:21:35] And it’s, I guess it’s kind of like. It’s an important lesson to give yourself permission, because you might surprise yourself. If you choose to believe in yourself, you never know.

[00:21:45] Dane Reis: [00:21:45] what 

[00:21:45] a great. 

[00:21:46] Story. 

[00:21:47] And 

[00:21:48] like 

[00:21:48] you said, 

[00:21:48] just 

[00:21:49] give 

[00:21:49] yourself permission.

[00:21:50]Do you, 

[00:21:51] and

[00:21:51] don’t 

[00:21:51] compare 


[00:21:53] you’re 

[00:21:53] you and 


[00:21:55] you 

[00:21:55] have 

[00:21:56] no 

[00:21:56] clue 

[00:21:57] what they’re 

[00:21:58] actually looking

[00:21:59] for? 

[00:22:00] Nick Lehan: [00:22:00] No, a hundred percent that, and that’s what I’m saying. Like, as I said, I’m not a dancer. I can name a God. There have been so many work sections or. Paul backs that got me to dance where I have sabotaged myself because I kept playing this, this piece in my head that I’m at a dancer, I’m a dancer, I’m an Aster, I’m a singer.

[00:22:21] Like I, I’m not a dancer. These people can dance. And I, I, and I would sabotage myself before I even walked in the room because I told myself I couldn’t do it. You know what I mean? But I can’t, I I’ve, I’ve been in plenty of shows where I’m at the dance, I’ve taken the dance classes, I’ve done all those things, but your mind is a powerful tool in it.

[00:22:37]You gotta, you gotta learn to harness it and channel it for your benefit, especially in a high intense sending like an audition. It doesn’t have to be like that. Just give yourself permission to do your best and allow yourself the opportunity to fail, to show

[00:22:52] up.

[00:22:53]Dane Reis: [00:22:53] Yes. 

[00:22:54] Allow yourself the opportunity 

[00:22:55] to 

[00:22:55] show 

[00:22:56] up. So 

[00:22:56] good. 

[00:22:57] And 

[00:22:58] let’s take a moment 

[00:22:59] to 

[00:22:59] talk about 

[00:23:00] the present. 

[00:23:00] What 

[00:23:01] projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward 

[00:23:04] to? 

[00:23:04] And

[00:23:06] look, 

[00:23:06] we’re still in this pandemic. How do 

[00:23:08] you

[00:23:09] see the 

[00:23:09] entertainment 

[00:23:10] industry moving forward in the next couple of years? 

[00:23:12] Nick Lehan: [00:23:12] Oh, geez. That is a

[00:23:13] lot , um, big question. I know. Yeah, yeah.

[00:23:15] Yeah. I, I , well, no, it’s just , there’s, there’s so much to talk about it and it’s deep one. I I’m, I’m fortunate enough to have a couple of things that are kind of in the works right now. Still feeling out some of the logistics. So stay tuned. There could be some announcements, but there’s nothing really official yet.

[00:23:29] But I mean, one of the things I can talk about is I, I started an online community um, Literally a year ago, almost like to the day. Uh, it’s a small community of over 125 artists where we’ve read over

[00:23:42] 250 plays and made space and made space and produced about like 15 incredible new works. Yeah. I’m, I’m, I’m really proud of it.

[00:23:49] It’s. It’s been a space for me to kind of create, play, show up, learn material with like-minded individuals. Um, and it’s just been, it’s been a really awesome , uh, routine that has started in this quarantine thing. And now I have friends, people that are texts, people that I talked to on various time that I have never met in person. And I’d think. Yeah, how crazy is that? I think that’s so cool. Um, yeah. So that’s one of the things that is that I’m working on now in this pandemic time, I guess I’m looking forward, you know what, no, I know exactly what I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to collaborating with people in a room. I’m all about the collaborative process. I mean, like I miss that. I want to do it. I want to be in a room with my hand on a piano. I want to close my eyes and I want to feel those chords reverberate through my soul and on the piano. I want to ha I want to have a conversation about a piece with someone where we are to wedding ideas, concepts.

[00:24:55]Um, I’m so hungry for that. And I’m so excited to finally have that moment when we’re back, you know, I I’m I’m yeah, I think I’m excited to see to the other point or question that you asked, I’m excited when we’re back to see where the performing arts goes. I mean, I think, I think like many things is huge.

[00:25:10] Pause. The pause on the American theater machine has made space for like a deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep evaluation of where we are as a community. And I think. I mean, I think the future of the entertainment industry is so bright. Like in the next 10 years I’m calling it, it’s going to be like a new roaring twenties.

[00:25:28]But you know, we have a lot, a lot of work to do to get there on Sunday , different, different plans. But I think it takes a village, but I think specifically, I only really want to participate if we’ve kind of evolved in progress to a place where all voices are truly welcomed. And supported. I think that that’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to just the, the, a new era, a new time for new voices, new perspectives, and just seeing what kind of art and work comes from that infrastructural

[00:26:01] change.


[00:26:03] so 

[00:26:03] good. 

[00:26:04] I 

[00:26:04] am 

[00:26:04] also looking forward to that and I 

[00:26:06] also 

[00:26:06] agree 

[00:26:06] that 

[00:26:06] it’s going to 

[00:26:07] be like this 

[00:26:07] new 

[00:26:08] roaring twenties, 

[00:26:09] Hopefully without really big crash afterwards, but 

[00:26:12] I know it’s, it’s, it’s so funny. As soon as I said that, I was like, you know, that might not be the best analogy, but the idea being, I think that in this pandemic we’ve been so starved of all of the things that are just innately human touch community, gathering the art of gathering , um, the art of witnessing.

[00:26:31] And perkiness like, there there’s a person there’s so much. That is in its absence right now. But because of its absence, our heart has just grown fonder for it. You know what I mean? And it’s, it’s just it’s if we can transmute it because the reality is there’s some real pain, there’s some real world. Things happening with this pandemic and all of the reverberating things that have happened to it. But if we can transmute and find that silver lining through all of that, I really do think at least from the performing arts perspective, that there is just going to be this. Renaissance in the American theater of new works, new voices, and it’s just incredibly exciting.

[00:27:15] It’s an incredibly

[00:27:15] exciting time for art. 

[00:27:17] Dane Reis: [00:27:17] Yes, I agree. 

[00:27:19] And 

[00:27:20] it is time 

[00:27:21] to 

[00:27:21] move 

[00:27:21] on 

[00:27:21] to 

[00:27:21] one 

[00:27:21] of my favorite sections in the interview. 

[00:27:24] I call 

[00:27:24] it the 

[00:27:25] grease 

[00:27:25] lightening round. 

[00:27:27] I 

[00:27:28] am going 

[00:27:28] to 

[00:27:28] ask 

[00:27:28] you a handful of questions. I 

[00:27:30] want 

[00:27:30] you 

[00:27:30] to answer them 

[00:27:31] as quickly and 

[00:27:32] concisely as possible 

[00:27:33] one after another.

[00:27:34] Are you ready? 

[00:27:36]Nick Lehan: [00:27:36] Oh boy. 

[00:27:36] Yep. I’m ready. Let’s

[00:27:37] do this. 

[00:27:38] Dane Reis: [00:27:38] All 

[00:27:38] right. 

[00:27:39] First question.

[00:27:40] What was 

[00:27:40] the 

[00:27:41] one thing holding 

[00:27:41] you 

[00:27:42] back from committing to a career as an 

[00:27:43] entertainer? 

[00:27:44] Nick Lehan: [00:27:44] Um, what I thought society , uh, wanted me to be, or what. Uh, your past? No,no, there’s no past I, what society wanted me to be. I, I thought that , uh, uh, I I’m a man was supposed to do a certain thing and I was just foolish, foolish, foolish, foolish, foolish,

[00:27:58] used

[00:28:00] second question. 

[00:28:01] Dane Reis: [00:28:01] What 

[00:28:01] is the best 

[00:28:02] piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:28:04]Nick Lehan: [00:28:04] Comparison is the

[00:28:05] thief of joy. 

[00:28:06]Dane Reis: [00:28:06] yes. Third 

[00:28:07] question. What 

[00:28:07] is 

[00:28:08] something 

[00:28:08] that 

[00:28:08] is 

[00:28:08] working 

[00:28:09] for 

[00:28:09] you right now? 

[00:28:10] Or 

[00:28:10] if you’d 

[00:28:11] like 

[00:28:11] to go pre COVID, 

[00:28:12] what 

[00:28:12] was working for you before 

[00:28:14] our industry went 

[00:28:15] on? 

[00:28:15] Pause. 

[00:28:15]Nick Lehan: [00:28:15] Uh,  meditating and listening to Abraham

[00:28:18] Esther pics, 

[00:28:20]Dane Reis: [00:28:20] Fourth question. 

[00:28:21] What 

[00:28:21] is your best resource? 

[00:28:23] Whether that is a book, 

[00:28:24] a movie, 

[00:28:24] a YouTube video, maybe 

[00:28:25] a 

[00:28:25] podcast or piece 

[00:28:26] of 

[00:28:26] technology 

[00:28:27] you 

[00:28:28] found is helping your career

[00:28:29] right now. 

[00:28:30]Nick Lehan: [00:28:30] Oh man. Um, there are so many , uh, Ooh , uh, I think uh, the artists play the artists play. Yeah. 

[00:28:36] Wow. there we go.

[00:28:37] Yes. 

[00:28:38] Dane Reis: [00:28:38] Fifth 

[00:28:38] question. If 

[00:28:39] you had to start your 

[00:28:40] career from scratch, but 

[00:28:42] you still had 

[00:28:42] all the 

[00:28:43] knowledge 

[00:28:43] and 

[00:28:43] experience you’ve collected 

[00:28:44] from your career 

[00:28:45] in this industry, 

[00:28:46] what 

[00:28:46] would you do or not do? 

[00:28:48] Would 

[00:28:48] you 

[00:28:49] do anything differently or would you keep it the same? 

[00:28:51]Nick Lehan: [00:28:51] Oh, Ooh. If I, okay. So I operate from the perspective of everything has happened for me and I am the result of all of my life choices and I would not have it any other way, but if I could experiment, I could go back in time with my experiences.

[00:29:06] Now I think I would have similar to the question you asked earlier. I think I would have gone to Carnegie Mellon, I think, or gone to, or gone to any of the, the fine arts institutions. Because I was, I was saying I wanted to go to liberal arts college. I wanted to play lacrosse in college, which I did. I wanted to do this, this and this.

[00:29:23]Um, but I’d be interested to see what that kind of training would have done. Not only for my art, but in terms of just the general networking

[00:29:30] afterwards as well. 

[00:29:32]Dane Reis: [00:29:32] Yeah, 

[00:29:32] for sure. 

[00:29:33] And 

[00:29:34] the 

[00:29:34] last question, 

[00:29:35] what 

[00:29:36] is 

[00:29:36] the golden nugget knowledge drop 

[00:29:38] that 

[00:29:38] you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our 

[00:29:42] listeners. 

[00:29:43]Nick Lehan: [00:29:43] Okay. So I once asked , um, the legendary Terry Burrell, who, again, if you don’t know who that is, look her up. We were doing a show together and I asked, I actually asked her the question and I was like , what, what was the secret to a long successful career in the industry?

[00:29:58] And she paused, she looked down and took a couple of seconds. And then she looked at me with like the biggest smirk on her face and said, let me tell you in a week. So we’re doing, we’re doing a show. And every time I passed her or saw her, or we hung out at the actors housing, she played it. So coy , she, she knew.

[00:30:20] Every time I was looking at her, I was thinking about the question. That was what was so thirsty for the, the great big secret for success. And week to the day I, I, I came into the theater, went to my station and there is a car from Terri and , um, I opened the card and it was a butterfly. And on the inside she wrote. Gratitude even just saying that right now, my, my spirit kind of just lifted, but I remember feeling at the time, like disheartened or upset or like, yo, what’s up with that. But Terry, Terry loved that, you know, I , and, and again, I don’t know what I was expecting. I feel like I wanted like a play by play. And so I , like, I went to her and she waxed poetic.

[00:31:04] About the importance of a grateful soul and not only as industry professionals, but like as, as artists or humans, you know? And, and I think that is the gist or of that’s the gist of what I consider to be a very Holy and private conversation, but it was a, it was the light bulb moment, you know, and, and because of that, gratitude is.

[00:31:26]My lens gratitude is my scale. I mean like spiritual implications aside, like th there are physiological and scientific brain functions and coordinations that are activated they’re directly correlated and related to you being grateful. And I mean, it’s so easy to fall for, as we were kind of talking about the grass is always greener or the comparing yourself , but, but. It’s all about leaning into your joy, you know, lean into the gratitude. And I think that is just the best way to send to yourself. On this artistic

[00:32:02] journey.

[00:32:02]Dane Reis: [00:32:02] uh, 

[00:32:02] I 

[00:32:02] think 

[00:32:03] that is 

[00:32:03] so good. And it is worth a rewind 

[00:32:05] and 

[00:32:05] a 

[00:32:05] re 

[00:32:06] listen, 

[00:32:07] everybody

[00:32:08] And 

[00:32:09] to 

[00:32:10] wrap

[00:32:10] up this interview, Nick, it is 

[00:32:12] time 

[00:32:13] to give 

[00:32:13] yourself a plug. 

[00:32:14] Where can we find 

[00:32:15] you? How 

[00:32:16] do our 

[00:32:16] listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to 

[00:32:19] promote?

[00:32:19]Nick Lehan: [00:32:19] Oh, yeah. So, you know, you can follow me , um, at N Lehan Lee, H a N, and my company, the creative artists network, that’s the creative artists network. Um, and you can also visit our websites for coaching and subscribe to our mailing list for upcoming

[00:32:36]Um, and that’s kinda

[00:32:37] where you can find me. 

[00:32:38]Dane Reis: [00:32:38] Beautiful. 

[00:32:39] And 

[00:32:39] for 

[00:32:39] everyone listening out 

[00:32:40] there,

[00:32:41] I have 

[00:32:41] put the links 

[00:32:42] to everything. Nick just said into the description 

[00:32:44] of 

[00:32:44] this episodes, 

[00:32:45] you 

[00:32:45] can easily 

[00:32:46] connect 

[00:32:47] with 

[00:32:47] him and 

[00:32:47] all of 

[00:32:47] his projects, 

[00:32:48] and also 

[00:32:49] be 

[00:32:50] sure to share 

[00:32:51] this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, 

[00:32:53] teachers, 

[00:32:54] arts, 

[00:32:54] and 

[00:32:55] entertainment educators, 

[00:32:56] and anyone, you know, you know, aspiring to create a career 

[00:33:00] in 

[00:33:00] this.

[00:33:01] Industry 

[00:33:02] it is integral 

[00:33:03] to 

[00:33:03] helping 

[00:33:04] them 

[00:33:04] succeed 

[00:33:04] and helping 

[00:33:05] you create 

[00:33:06] a 

[00:33:06] better, more 

[00:33:07] fulfilling 

[00:33:07] career 

[00:33:08] in 

[00:33:08] this 

[00:33:08] crazy 

[00:33:09] industry 

[00:33:10] case 

[00:33:10] in point take everything 

[00:33:11] that 

[00:33:12] Nick gave 

[00:33:12] us here 

[00:33:12] today 

[00:33:13] throughout 

[00:33:13] this 

[00:33:13] episode. So good. 

[00:33:15] If 

[00:33:15] you enjoyed it, Please 

[00:33:16] hit that 

[00:33:17] subscribe 

[00:33:17] button. So 

[00:33:18] you don’t miss 

[00:33:18] the next one,

[00:33:19] Nick.

[00:33:20] Thank 

[00:33:20] you so much. 

[00:33:21] I 

[00:33:21] am so

[00:33:22] happy that we got to connect and 

[00:33:24] have this 

[00:33:24] chat. 

[00:33:25]Nick Lehan: [00:33:25] I am still happy to thank you. It really was an honor. I

[00:33:27] appreciate it. 

[00:33:29]Dane Reis: [00:33:29] Thank 

[00:33:29] you.