Hansen Publishing Group released The Understudy by Ellen Tovatt Leary ’64 on July 1st, 2020 – a book about the life of Nina Landau, a Broadway actress in the 1970s living in New York City. The book follows her journey from anxious Broadway auditions to her eventual success on stage.
“Along the way, we discover what goes on backstage during a Broadway show, how actors deal with the mistakes that occasionally occur, and how exciting it is to be at an opening night party at Sardi’s. Nina experiences thrilling triumphs as well as crushing setbacks and has a passionate love affair with her leading man.”
Ellen spent twenty years acting on the professional stage. She performed in theaters from the Ahmanson in Los Angeles to the State Theater in Lincoln Center, including four Broadway theaters (the Barrymore, the Lyceum, the Helen Hayes, and the Palace), and many Off-Broadway and regional theaters. She worked with Hal Prince, Maureen Stapleton, and James Hammerstein among others. She graduated from Antioch College and was a Fulbright scholar at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Her first book, a memoir, Mother Once Removed, details her childhood growing up on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village in the 1940s with an eccentric, divorced mother. She was a staff writer at Carnegie Hill News in New York for fourteen years and has published short stories as well as poems. A native New Yorker, she currently resides with her husband in LA.