From the writer of the Academy Award-winning film Trevor comes The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, the new play written and performed by James Lecesne, directed by Tony Speciale (with original music by Tony Award-winning composer Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening).
Absolute Brightness is about the disappearance of Leonard Pelkey, a 14-year-old boy who dared to be different, and the small New Jersey town that will never be the same without him.
“BRAVO! A tale that shimmers with needling suspense. James Lecesne’s multihued performance glows with such humanity (and robust humor) that you may find yourself choking back a tear or two. He is a dazzling beacon of theatrical talent.”
Charles Isherwood, The New York Times Critic’s Pick
JAMES LECESNE wrote the screenplay for the short film Trevor, which won an Academy Award and inspired the founding of The Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention and crisis intervention lifeline for LGBT and questioning youth. Broadway: The Best Man. Off-Broadway: Word of Mouth, presented by Mike Nichols and Elaine May (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award); The Boys in the Band; Motherhood Out Loud; One Man Band; and Cloud 9. Television: “Armistead Maupin’s Further Tales of the City” (Emmy nomination), “Will & Grace” and the ITVS series “Vicious” starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. James has written three novels for young adults, including Absolute Brightness, and he was executive producer of the documentary film After the Storm, which follows the lives of 12 young people living in post-Katrina New Orleans. He would like to thank Dixon Place, Naked Angels, The Afterglow Festival and 20 Summers for helping to bring Leonard Pelkey to life.
TONY SPECIALE (Director) is the founder of Plastic Theatre—conceiving, co-authoring and directing the world premiere of The Secret Court (formerly Unnatural Acts; Drama Desk nominee, GLAAD Media Award nominee). NYC: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (The Dixon Place); A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac (Classic Stage Company); Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson); and Remembering Mr. Maugham (Clurman Theatre). Regional: Barry Manilow’s Harmony (Allegiance Theatre/Ahmanson Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Tony served four seasons as Associate Artistic Director at Classic Stage Company, studied musical theatre at The Boston Conservatory and holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Columbia University. He is also the proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium and a Suzi Bass Award. www.tonyspeciale.com
JO WINIARSKI (Scenic Design). Selected NYC: Love, Loss and What I Wore; J.A.P. The Jewish American Princesses of Comedy; I Love You Because; and multiple shows for the Pearl Theatre Company. Selected regional: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Geva Theater, Mill City Summer Opera and Capital Repertory Theater. Jo designed Wishes for Disney Cruise Line and is the art director on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
PAUL MARLOW (Costume Design) is a clothing designer with a made-to-measure and custom clothing studio in New York City. He has also designed for stage and screen. His is a CFDA member. Credits/clients: 20th Century Fox (Glee The 3D Concert Movie), Ryan Murphy Television (“Glee” TV pilot), Loden Dager, Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Uniqlo, Shinola.
MATT RICHARDS (Lighting Design). Broadway: Ann. Off-Broadway: The Other Thing (Second Stage Uptown), Verité (LCT3), Tamburlaine and The Killer (TFANA), Atlantic Theater, BAM, MCC, Rattlestick, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages. Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, Baltimore CenterStage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Play House, Dallas Theater Center, Ford’s Theatre, Goodman, Guthrie, Hartford Stage, Huntington, La Jolla, Long Wharf, New York Stage & Film, Old Globe, Shakespeare Theatre, Westport. Graduate: University of Massachusetts, Yale School of Drama. www.matthewrichardsdesign.com
CHRISTIAN FREDERICKSON (Sound Design) is a violist, composer and sound designed based in New York City. He is a founding member of the indie-rock band Rachel’s with six albums on Quarterstick Records. Recent credits: Glory of the World, Dot, At the Vanishing Point (Actors Theatre of Louisville); The Master Builder, Trojan Women (BAM); The Painted Bird Trilogy (La MaMa); Through the Yellow Hour (Rattlestick); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Unnatural Acts, Three Sisters (Classic Stage Company).
AARON RHYNE (Projection Design). Broadway: Gentleman’s Guide…(Drama Desk Award), Bonnie & Clyde. Opera: The Ghosts of Versailles (L.A. Opera), La Traviata (Wolf Trap), Florencia en el Amazonas (Opera Colorado, Utah Opera), Jerry Springer: The Opera (Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House). Off-Broadway: Bootycandy (Playwrights Horizons); Appropriate (Signature); Water by the Spoonful; Lonely, I’m Not; The Blue Flower; All New People (Second Stage); Wild With Happy (The Public, Drama Desk nom); Graceland (LCT); Spirit Control (MTC); Regional: Hartford, Old Globe, La Jolla, Asolo Rep, Huntington Theatre, Geffen, Shakespeare Theatre, Ford’s Theatre. www.aaronrhyne.com
DARREN BAGERT (Producer) is a multiple-award-winning producer including the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle, Drama League, Obie and Lucille Lortel. His Broadway productions include An American in Paris (Tony Award nominee), Side Show, Of Mice and Men, The Glass Menagerie (Tony Award nominee), Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (Tony Award nominations both productions, 2012 & 2000), Company (Tony Award winner), Sweeney Todd (Tony Award nominee), Frozen (Tony Award nominee), Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Tony Award winner) and others. His Off-Broadway credits include such long-running award-winning plays as Buyer & Cellar and My Name Is Asher Lev. Darren hopes everyone embraces the ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS found in everyone around us. Thank you James Lecesne for your beautiful gift of storytelling—we are all moved because of you.
DARYL ROTH (Producer) holds the singular distinction of producing seven Pulitzer Prize-winning plays: Anna in the Tropics, August: Osage County (2008 Tony); Clybourne Park (2012 Tony); How I Learned to Drive; Proof (2001 Tony); Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women; and Wit. The recipient of eight Tony Awards, her over 90 award-winning productions include It Shoulda Been You; Kinky Boots (2013 Tony); Buyer & Cellar; The Normal Heart (2011 Tony); War Horse (2011 Tony); Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Curtains; The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (2002 Tony); and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. Love to Steven, my wonderful family, Lucy & Leo ever in my heart. www.DarylRothProductions.com
JANE DUBIN (Co-Producer). Tony winner. President, Double Play Connections. Broadway: An American in Paris, Peter and the Starcatcher, Ann, The Norman Conquests. Off-Broadway/tours: PATSC, 39 Steps, Beebo Brinker…, Groundswell. London: Umbrellas. Member: Broadway League, Board: League of Professional Theatre Women, Houses on the Moon Theater Co.; Strategic Consultant: SPACE on Ryder Farm.
CURTIS FORSYTHE (Co-Producer). Broadway producing credits include An American in Paris, Side Show and It Shoulda Been You. For the past eight years, Mr. Forsythe served on the Board of Directors for Rosie’s Theater Kids, a non-profit arts education organization founded by Rosie O’Donnell. He is a CPA and former technology executive. Love to twin six-year-olds Lena and Luke!
MICHAEL MAYER (Co-Producer) is the Tony Award-winning director of such Broadway shows as Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, Everyday Rapture, Side Man, Thoroughly Modern Millie and A View from the Bridge. Feature films: A Home at the End of the World and Flicka. TV includes “Smash” (NBC) and “Alpha House” (AMAZON). Metropolitan Opera: Rigoletto. He serves on the Board of New York Stage & Film.
DIANE PROCTER (Co-Producer) is a New York City-based architect building a “different kind of house.” She is thrilled to be a part of this little show with the great big heart. Past Off-Broadway credits include Love and Game, Love and Backgammon and The Fartiste.
SEAVIEW PRODUCTIONS (Co-Producer). Led by executive producers Greg Nobile and Jana Shea, Seaview’s Broadway credit include A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award), Side Show. Broadway investments: Of Mice and Men, It’s Only a Play, Fun Home, Something Rotten. Special thanks to Julie Rose and the Seaview investment team. www.SeaviewProds.com
MINERVA PRODUCTIONS (Co-Producer) was founded in 1996 by Anne O’Shea as a theatrical production company to give women more opportunities. With the inclusion of Brian Quattrini, film was added in 2009. The mission now includes children, the LGBTQ community and all other underserved factions. Films: Hunting Ground, Any Day Now, Kids Are All Right. Theatre: An American in Paris, Ann.
JOSHUA GOODMAN (Co-Producer) is an attorney and two-time Tony Award-winning producer. Broadway: Pippin, Rocky, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.