Anthony Leyva, like any true actor, speaks with passion when he tells a story. His every inflection, articulation and gesture is fueled with spark and energy.
His hand movements and his expressive face — half covered by a head of dark, thick curls and smudged spectacles — animate his storytelling.
His inspiration to become an actor stemmed from an unlikely source. Seventeen years ago, a 4-year-old Leyva’s eyes were glued to the television, fixated on his favorite show.
“I wanted to be a Power Ranger,” he said, delivering a swift headshake to free his eyes from his tendrils of hair. “Then I found out that those Power Rangers were just acting.”
Leyva’s interest in acting manifested itself when he first took the Voice for the Actor class with Andrea Stark and the Fundamentals of Acting with Melissa Randel last fall.
Both professors encouraged Leyva to audition for, “Almost, Maine,” by John Cariani.
“I was pretty nervous, but I must not have done horribly because I got cast,” he said.
Leyva, 21, has a reputation for his impeccable sense of style. He will often keep a backup pea coat, fedora or blazer in the nearby Theater Guild office adjacent to the auditorium to maintain his fashionable look throughout the day.
He can usually be seen dressed to the nines in slacks, a tie, a fedora and a blazer, laughing and enjoying himself while surrounded by a group of friends.
“Ever since I learned how to tie a tie, I’m like why not [wear one]?” he said.
His favorite actor at the moment is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Since watching “Brick,” an award-winning film directed by Rian Johnson in which Gordon-Levitt plays a teenager investigating the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, Leyva has grown steadily devoted to the young actor.
Leyva has been the vice president of the Theater Guild for three consecutive semesters and is currently the stage manager for the theater department’s upcoming production of “The Bald Soprano” by Eugene Ionesco.
Fellow actor and guild member Tayler Burgard said that Leyva is “very authoritative and makes you want to listen. He is crazy dedicated and gets everyone going.”
His younger sister, Solangel, 18, said that her brother is not afraid to chase his dreams. When she first saw him perform, she liked seeing him “light up in front of the crowd.”
“It felt great to finally see what he was spending all his time doing,” she said.
Leyva lives with his two older brothers, Martin and Alex, in L.A.
When Martin first saw Leyva perform, he was astonished with Anthony’s performance because it was there that he first encountered his individualism.
“It’s great to see all of his hard work materialize into something beautiful,” Martin said.
According to Aldo Garcia, a fellow actor and guild member, Anthony is that type of person that “you can talk to about anything.”
His passion and enthusiasm as an actor are also well-known throughout the campus’ theater community.
“It’s a blast [to act with Anthony],” said Burgard. “You do your best because you see his passion and it sets you on fire.”
“He is an extremely gifted and fun person,” Michael Ashby, a member of the Theater Guild said.
During a recent Halloween-themed guild meet and greet, Anthony, of course, was present, socializing with members of the club and clad in a black and white checkered tie and almost blindingly polished black dress shoes.
The aftermath of the event left a mess of artificial spider webs and a number of plastic orange and black arachnid rings. Despite his rather formal attire, Anthony stayed till the end, sweeping away litter and dusting off cobwebs.
Leyva said that being at Glendale College has inspired him and helped him build confidence as an actor, and he has come to love every aspect of theater.
“My advice to my younger self would be to just got for it. Even if you’re scared, never stop trying,” he said.