Students at Arthur Stanlick Elementary School in Lake Hopatcong will cheer when their fellow student, 11-year-old Leilah St.Clair Marshall stars in the World Premiere production of Centenary Stage Company’s “Whippoorwill” by Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright, Ruth Kirschner, which ran from March 31 – April 10 at the Lackland Center for the Performing Arts.
The play is a charming family story about a young girl and her mother navigating the world together, as a big secret slowly reveals itself, and Leilah’s character of Bibi leads the way to discovery.
Leilah Marshall first got bitten by the theatre bug in 2017, when she did a workshop - at age 6 - with Drama Geek Studios in Newton NJ. More recently Leilah joined the Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers Workshop, where she has performed for the past 2 seasons. In between, she has studied tap dance, acro, ballet, and musical theatre, and she currently plays the clarinet in her elementary school band.
Hailing from a musical family, it is no surprise that Leilah has taken an artistic path. Her mother, Amber, is a classically trained pianist, and her father, Jim, has been playing bass in various NYC punk rock bands since he was a teenager. Her brother Kaleb (age 20), played in every musical band possible during his years in Jefferson Township High School, where he was also the Drum Major in the marching band.
“When I asked Leilah at the audition how long she had been acting,” says WPS Program Director Catherine Rust, “she replied ‘five years’. It really shows. She’s quite the professional.” Rust says there is great excitement about this production, which has been in development for over 2 years.
Leilah and her family have lived in Lake Hopatcong since 2007, after moving from Hunterdon County.