By Mervyn Rothstein
27 May 2014
|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
"I've always been interested in diversity," director Kenny Leon said. "Especially Americans different in age and race and culture sitting next to each other watching the same story." And he gets "to see how they leave the theatre, see what kind of questions they're asking each other at intermission."
Leon, 58, has spent his career fulfilling that interest.
This year finds him serving double duty on Broadway. First, he's directing a new Broadway revival of Raisin, starring Denzel Washington, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. He begins previews at Broadway's Palace Theatre later this month for Holler If Ya Hear Me, featuring a score of songs by the late rap star Tupac Shakur. "We're using the music of Tupac, we're not telling the story of Tupac," he explained.
Leon was born in Tallahassee, Florida. "I had two very strong women in my life, my grandmother and my mother," he said.
In high school, he was in a federal Upward Bound program that prepared students from low-income families for college. "My mother and stepfather were making $10,000 a year, so college was not a reality for me. But Upward Bound made it a reality."Continued...