Julia Hansen award winning and Tony nominated director Kenny Leon is one of the most exciting and acclaimed Directors in American theatre today. In July 2010 his hit Tony Award Broadway show ‘Fences’ garnered 10 Tony Nominations, including best director, the most nominations ever for a play revival, set box office records and received the Tony award for best revival of a play, best actor and best actress. Past Tony nominations include, his Broadway productions of ‘Radio Golf’, ‘Gem of the Ocean’ and ‘Raisin In The Sun’ (starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald). Mr. Leon was nominated for Best Director by the Directors Guild of America for the film version of ‘A Raisin In The Sun’ which also received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and won 3 NAACP Image Awards. He is the recipient of many awards including the Drama Leagues, Julia Hansen Award for a lifetime of excellence in theatre, MIT Eugene McDermott Humanitarian Award, NAACP Theater’s Trailblazer Award as well as the Abby and Christopher Awards. He has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, NBC, Charlie Rose and PBS among other shows. He was also featured as People’s Magazine 50 Most Beautiful and the ‘Face of Martell’s’ national and international advertising campaign.
In September of 2010, Leon directed the world premiere of ‘Every Tongue Confess’ at the Arena Stage in D.C. A familiar face on Broadway, Leon will return to direct Samuel L. Jackson in Katori Hall’s ‘Mountaintop’, winner of London’s Olivier Award for best new play this fall.
Prior to founding Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, he served 11 years as Artistic Director of the Alliance Theatre. Kenny’s directorial credits span an incomparable range of work, from classic theatre, to drama, to comedy, to opera, to musicals, to musical revues, to film.
He’s directed extensively around the country, including, among others, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, Boston’s Huntington Theatre, Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre and Hartford Stage, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group, Milwaukee Reparatory, New York’s Public Theatre, Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, Seattle Reparatory, Georgia Shakespeare, San Jose Reparatory, Dallas Theatre Center, and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Kenny served as Artistic Director of the 10-play August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center marking the first time all ten plays were produced in repertory under one roof. He staged the world premiere of Toni Morrison’s opera Margaret Garner, featuring mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves at the Michigan Opera House and the Auditorium here in Chicago. Margaret Garner was also produced at Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Cincinnati Opera.
He produced Disney and Elton John’s ‘Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, Alfred Uhry’s ‘The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Pearl Cleage’s ‘Flying West and Blues For an Alabama Sky’ among others. In collaboration with Jujamcyn Theatres he produces the August Wilson Monologue Competition, an annual competition currently in 6 major cities that provide workshops and training to hundreds of teenagers for competition in national finals on Broadway and is producing a documentary film about the importance of ‘The Arts’ in our lives.