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July 30, 2022 4 min read

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Dorcas Leung is a left-handed actress based in New York City! She got her start singing at church and in choir, but it wasn’t until following a crush led her to audition for her first musical in middle school. Since then, she’s gone on to perform in Broadway’s Miss Saigon (Gigi Van Tranh), Off-Broadway’s Midsummer (Dou Yi in Snow), the first National Tour of Hamilton (Eliza, Angelica, Peggy/Maria), and The Tale of Despereaux (Despereaux) and Les Misérables (Cosette) regionally. She loves being able to challenge the narrative of what Asian artists “should” be, and hopes to not only continue representing her community in those roles, but to see others do the same. Leung advises young artists to “be curious, have a learning spirit, and truly enjoy [themselves]” – and of course, to have fun!Read on to learn more about Dorcas Leung and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 

 

Name:   Dorcas Leung

 

Heritage:   Chinese American

 

Hometown:   Houston, TX

 

Current City:   New York, NY

 

Current project:   Just finished Snow in Midsummer by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig at Classic Stage Company, going on to start The Notebook, a musical with book by Bekah Brunstetter and music by Ingrid Michaelson at Chicago Shakespeare!

 

What are some of your favorite credits/projects: 

 

Broadway: Miss Saigon (Gigi Van Tranh), Off-Broadway: Dou Yi in Snow in Midsummer (Classic Stage Theater), 1st National Tour: Hamilton (Eliza, Angelica, Peggy/Maria), Regional Favorites: Despereaux in The Tale of Despereaux (Berkeley Rep), Cosette in Les Misérables.

 

 

Any advice for young people getting into the arts? 

 

Have fun! I got started because I love to sing. The feeling of being able to express myself and learn about my instrument was endlessly interesting to me. So be curious, have a learning spirit, and truly enjoy yourself. What a gift it is to be able to create.

 

How did you get your start? 

 

I started singing at church! So I signed up for choir as my extracurricular at my public middle school. In 7th grade, we were allowed to audition for the school musical and I had a crush on a boy that was also going to audition for…The Music Man. I was in love with the boy but then fell deeper in love with the musical instead :) 

 

Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share? 

 

Touring the nation with the 1st National Tour of Hamilton was a really special experience. When we spent time in D.C, we were able to visit with members of the Supreme Court. We were treated to tours of the stellar museums and history of our nation. But most importantly, as we took the show to different cities, it was really powerful and fulfilling for me to meet Asian women all over the country. I met so many amazing families with young daughters that were excited to see someone that looked like them on stage. That never gets old, no matter what show I’m in.

 

What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career? 

 

I think a lot of Asian artists have this challenge, but to be seen as a whole character – flaws and all – instead of a stereotype of what Asian people “should” be. I’ve been very lucky that my career has afforded me the opportunity to play roles that have not been traditionally played by Asian artists. But I’m hopeful that I’m not the only one that gets the chance to do that. We are a vast, diverse, complicated group of people and I hope that as time continues forward we are able to showcase and uplift that diversity.

 

What are some interesting facts about yourself? 

 

I’m left handed! 

 

If you come from parents who aren’t in the arts, what parts of them do you see in yourself that have helped you succeed in the business? 

 

I remember being discouraged about grades when I was younger and my dad would just say, “Can you say that you tried your best?”. It wasn’t necessarily an admonishment, but an honest question. And I’ve held that to myself a lot. Is this my best? There are so many factors that go into this business but if I can answer, “yes” to my work or my attempts at being my best. I feel great about that. 

 

What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career? 

 

A sense of humor. There is only so much we can control but to be able to laugh at the ridiculous has truly saved me. 

 

What do you love most about what you do? 

 

The making and the people. I love the creative process and the way that people from different backgrounds and thought processes can come together to create something so beautiful, odd, devastating, hilarious. 

 

How do you deal with performance anxiety? 

 

Take a big ole breath. When in doubt, go back to the breath. Remind yourself, you are here. What is about to happen will happen, and there is nothing right or wrong about it. It just is!

 

Since so many of us spent a lot of time isolated during the pandemic, how has that experience specifically changed your creative or preparation process or your outlook on life? 

 

A huge lesson I learned over the pandemic is that I was conflating my worth with my work. If I wasn’t employed, I illogically thought I wasn’t worthy. But the beautiful thing is, I AM! I love to express myself and I love to create and I love to act and I love to sing but all those things are possible without the idea of having to be employed in a high-profile job to do so. So being able to take the parts of myself that I really love and nurture that over the pandemic has done so much with my self-worth and my idea of myself and I think in turn, has made me a better artist. I’ve been able to return to a world of auditions and shows with a brighter outlook on myself and I feel grateful for that. 

 

If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it? 

 

The first time I heard the Wicked soundtrack… actually life changing.

 

To find out more about Dorcas Leung, please visit her at: 

 

Instagram:   @dorca_the_orca

 

 

 


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