Kenny Leon Set to Direct Off-Broadway Play "Smart People"
Kenny Leon is set to direct the upcoming off-Broadway production of "Smart People," written by Lydia R. Diamond ("Stick Fly"), with Mahershala Ali, Tessa Thompson, Joshua Jackson and Anne Son all starring.
"Smart People" is described as follows: "The quest for love, achievement and identity is universal, but what role does race play in the story of our lives? On the eve of Obama's first election, four Harvard intellectuals find themselves entangled in a complex web of social and sexual politics in this provocative and funny new play by Lydia R. Diamond."
The creative team includes scenic design by Riccardo Hernandez, costume design by Paul Tazewell, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, lighting design by Jason Lyons, and projection design by Zach Borovay.
Read full article on Indie Wire by Tambay A. Obenson
The Wiz Live!
Directed by Kenny Leon
NBC embarks on its latest musical holiday tradition: a 3-hour LIVE event production of the groundbreaking Broadway show that brought Oz to life in a funky sing-along journey down the yellow brick road.
Winner of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the original massive Broadway hit spawned a feature film starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Now, a Tony-winning creative team, the imaginative Cirque du Soleil Theatrical and a diverse cast of showstoppers create an eye-popping new take unlike anything ever seen.
The Tony-winning 1980 play Children of a Lesser God is set to return to Broadway for the first time. The new production will be directed by Kenny Leon, who took home the Tony this year for directing A Raisin in the Sun. The Mark Medoff-penned show will open at a theater to be announced in the 2015-16 season.
No cast has been set for the revival, although producer Hal Luftig told The New York Times that he and Leon aim to cast a company comprised of various ethnicities. The producer also confirmed that he and Leon did intend to cast a deaf actress as Sarah, noting, “anything else would be insulting to the deaf community.”
Children of a Lesser God tells the story of James Leeds, a new teacher at a school for the deaf, and Sarah Norman, the school’s one-time star student who has stayed behind as its cleaning woman rather than venturing out into the hearing world. James immediately takes a keen interest in Sarah, and tries to persuade her to communicate orally by lip reading as they kindle a romance beyond word. The original Broadway production starred Phyllis Frelich and John Rubinstein, who both won Tonys for their performances. The screen adaptation received five Academy Award nominations and earned Marlee Matlin the 1987 Oscar for Best Actress.
NPR Presents Water±
NPR Presents Water± brings together Tony-Award winning director Kenny Leon, award-winning NPR Science Correspondent Christopher Joyce, and award-winning theater writers Arthur Yorinks and Carl Hancock Rux with an original sound score by acclaimed violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR). The show starts its eight-city tour in New Orleans. It will be co-hosted by NPR's Michele Norris and WWNO's Eve Troeh and will feature Tony Award-winner Anika Noni Rose (Caroline, or Change); Tony Award-nominee, Michele Shay (August Wilson's Seven Guitars); Jason Dirden (Tony Award-winning Production, A Raisin in the Sun); and Lucas Caleb Rooney (Boardwalk Empire).
"I am excited to work with NPR Presents on this meaningful and highly relevant undertaking," said director Kenny Leon. "Theater has the ability to illuminate the human experience in a way that is unique, vital and authentic. Our goal is to allow Water± to showcase our shared humanity, our shared challenges across the US and the globe."
Building on NPR and Member Stations' news coverage, the NPR Presents Water± series will highlight each city's unique, nuanced relationship with water. The scripts are created in partnership with the Member Station combining local sensibilities with national themes. No artistic licenses are taken with the news content; stories are adapted from on-air and online coverage, as well as oral histories, into monologues and dialogues.
- NPR Presents
Holler If Ya Hear Me
Directed by Kenny Leon
Holler If Ya Hear Me, the world inside Tupac Shakur’s music and lyrics, blazes to life in a non-biographical story about friendship, family, revenge, change and hope. Inner city lives struggle for peace against the daily challenges they face in this entertaining and original musical. Through the poetry of one of the 20th century’s most influential and culturally prominent voices, we are given a window into realities of the streets still relevant today.