Photo courtesy of True Colors Theatre Company
Kenny Leon to Be Honored at NAACP Theatre Awards With This Year’s Trailblazer Award
Kenny Leon, Tony nominated director and Artistic Director of True Colors Theatre Company, has been named the recipient of the 2010 Trailblazer Award at this year’s NAACP Theatre Awards. Other honorees include Wren T. Brown ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") for the Community Service Award and Quadiru Kent on behalf of Wal-Mart for the President’s Award, and the awards included a special performance from Bobby Valentino (Capitol Records R&B Recording Artist).
The prestigious star-studded gala is produced by the NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch to honor thespians of color among the best in the field of entertainment. The NAACP Theatre Award show and three-day festival provides a platform for thespians to express their craft and share their contributions with an audience of their peers, the community, and other tastemakers who enjoy live theatre.
The 20th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards will be held on Monday, August 30, 2010, 7 p.m., at the Director’s Guild of America in Los Angeles.
Kenny Leon (Artistic Director) In Fall of 2010, Mr. Leon will direct the world premiere of "Every Tongue Confess" starring Phylicia Rashad at the Arena Stage in D.C. and an episode of "Private Practice" for ABC. A familiar face on Broadway, Mr. Leon will return to direct "Mountaintop," winner of London’s Olivier Award for best new play, in Spring 2011.
In 2010, his hit Broadway show "Fences" garnered 10 Tony nominations including Best Director. Receiving the most nominations for a play revival in the history of the Tonys, "Fences" also set box office records and earned 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 "A Raisin in the Sun." 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 three 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 as well as the Abby and Christopher Awards. He has been featured on CBS "Sunday Morning," CNN, NBC, "Charlie Rose" and PBS, and was featured as People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful" and the face of Martell’s national and international advertising campaign.
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 including classic theatre, drama, comedy, opera, musicals and film.
Kenny served as Artistic Director of the ten-play August Wilson "Century Cycle" at the Kennedy Center, marking the first time all ten plays were produced in repertory under one roof. He also directed "Swimming Upstream," featuring women of New Orleans and the impact of Hurricane Katrina on their lives and city, and "Breaking the Silence," a United Nations event aimed at bringing awareness to child abduction across the globe. In London, he directed "Flashdance: The Musical," which toured the UK through May of 2009 and served as Stage Director on Alicia Keys’ “As I Am” worldwide tour. He also staged the world premiere of Toni Morrison’s opera "Margaret Garner," featuring mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves at the Michigan Opera House.
He has produced world premiere works including 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. With True Colors, Leon produces the August Wilson Monologue Competition, an annual competition currently in five major cities that provides workshops and training to hundreds of teenagers in anticipation to reach the national competition on Broadway and is currently producing a documentary film about the importance of "the arts" in our lives.
Holding honorary doctorates from Roosevelt University, among others, Mr. Leon is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University. He has been the featured speaker for many arts organizations, corporations, universities, awards shows, political gatherings and churches including Aspen Ideas Festival, Yale, Northwestern, Tish, Coca-Cola, Grantmakers of America and Association of Performing Arts in New York.
True Colors Theatre Company is a national theatre company based in Atlanta, Ga. Founded by Artistic Director Kenny Leon and Managing Director Jane Bishop, True Colors strives to be an important voice in the American discussion of diversity including plays and playwrights from various times, cultures and perspectives.