'Children of a Lesser God' April 11th 2017
Kenny Leon returned to Broadway with his new play 'Children of a Lesser God'. The play will star Joshua Jackson (known for his TV roles including “Dawson’s Creek” and “The Affair”) as James Leeds and Lauren Ridloff, a former Miss Deaf America, as Sarah Norman.
Synopsis: "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. They soon embark on an emotional journey that will teach them both new ways of communicating and loving and, in the process, they build a romance beyond words."
The first staging of Children of a Lesser God on Broadway took place in 1980 and earned three Tony Awards, including "Best Play," as well as two Tonys for its leading actors Phyllis Frelichand John Rubinstein. It ran for more than two years and went on to be adapted for the silver screen, earning five Academy Award nominations and winning Marlee Matlin an Oscar for "Best Actress" in 1987. Ms. Frelich and Ms. Matlin remain the only deaf actresses to have ever won the Tony Award and Academy Award, respectively, for leading roles.
‘Hairspray Live!’ on NBC
Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, "Hairspray Live!" takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream is to dance on "The Corny Collins Show," a local TV program. When against all odds Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African American boy she meets in detention, Seaweed; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a local record store. Tracy's mother is the indomitable Edna, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white "Corny Collins Show."
See more at NBC.com
Off-Broadway Production of "Smart People"
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. A whirlwind of crackling dialogue and tricky questions are thrown at us by the fearless and funny Lydia Diamond (Stick Fly) in this provocative and funny play.
See more at Truecolorstheatre.org
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 Wiz Live! Reviews are in...
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 (Broadway)
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.