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SHARING HIS MEMOIRS—Kenny Leon, Kiya Tomlin

Tony Award-winning Broadway stage and television director Kenny Leon says he learned everything he knows from three people; his mother, grandmother and August Wilson. In his memoir, “Take You Wherever You Go,” Leon reflects on the pillars of wisdom he learned every step of the way.

On July 21, Kenny Leon made a stop in Pittsburgh. On this day he spent the afternoon with 23 young people from the Alumni Theatre Company and sat in on their rehearsal of The Wiz. Demeatria Boccella said during his visit he shared his wisdom, personal journey and his beautiful spirit. Later that evening it was Cocktails and Conversation with Kenny Leon at Senti. Leon was introduced by Post-Gazette theatre critic Chris Rawson. The sold-out event was hosted by Boccella while designer Kiya Tomlin conducted the interview.

Leon read from his memoir and shared intimate stories about how he migrated from rural Florida to the Broadway stage. He said that his grandmother would always say to him, “Take you wherever you go,” meaning to be you at all times. He lived by that and it became the title of his book. Leon shared that August Wilson introduced him to Chris Rawson and that he first acted in Wilson’s plays and then directed. He has directed Gem of the Ocean, Radio Gulf, and Fences, and won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for the revival of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Along with Todd Kreidler, Leon created the National August Wilson Monologue Competition in Atlanta. The competition now includes 12 cities including Pittsburgh. On this festive evening Kreidler was in the audience.

Guests enjoyed a great evening of conversation with Kenny Leon and scrumptious bites and quenching cocktails from Senti.

 

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