BWW TV: A RAISIN IN THE SUN's Kenny Leon on Taking the Tony for Best Direction of a Play
As announced earlier this evening, A Raisin in the Sun's Kenny Leon has won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play. BroadwayWorld's own Richard Ridge was in the press room to catch up with the winner on what the award means to him - hear what Leon had to say below!
Kenny Leon's Broadway credits include August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean (five Tony nominations) and the Tony Award-winning revival of A Raisin in the Sun, both featuringPhylicia Rashad; for the latter, he earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play. Other directing credits include the Off-Broadway hit Emergence-See featuring Daniel Beaty, Blues for an Alabama Sky, and From the Mississippi Delta (Huntington Theatre).
Leon is founding artistic director of True Colors TheatreCompany, dedicated to diversity and the preservation of African-American classics; prior to that, he was artistic director of the Alliance Theatre for more than a decade, where he produced ten world premieres, including Elton John's Aida and Debbie Allen's Soul Possessed. Other recent directing credits include the world premiere of Toni Morrison's opera Margaret Garner as well as the film adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, featuring Phylicia Rashad and Sean Combs, soon to be released on network television in collaboration with Sony and ABC. He also looks forward to his upcoming collaboration with the Kennedy Center to pay homage to the great playwright August Wilson; the project will showcase all 10 of Wilson's plays in one concentrated package under Leon's artistic leadership.
Leon has directed extensively at regional theatres throughout the country, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Rep, Chicago's Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, Baltimore's Center Stage, New York's Public Theatre, Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Dallas Theatre Center, GA Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, and the Theatre of the Stars. One of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2004, he received the MIT Eugene McDermott Award in addition to Martell Cognac's "Rise Above Award," honoring his artistry and entrepreneurial spirit, and is currently the face of Martell. Leon is a graduate and honorary Ph.D. of Clark Atlanta University and was chosen as one of the "Top 20 Southerners to Watch" by London's Financial Times.
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