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Press Release: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey Cast and Creative Team Announcement

Complete Cast and Creative Team Announced for the Next Show of THE OLD GLOBE’s 2017–2018 SEASON: JAMES LECESNE’s Tour-de-Force One-Man Show,
THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY,Directed by TONY SPECIALE

Performances Run SEPTEMBER 30 – OCTOBER 29, 2017, with Opening Night on Thursday, October 5

Special Free Exhibit of Art Inspired by the Show Will Be on Display from Youth from the San Diego LGBT Community Center

 

SAN DIEGO (September 13, 2017)—The Old Globe today announced the creative team for the next show of the Globe’s 2017–2018 Season, acclaimed actor and playwright James Lecesne’s tour-de-force one-man show, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. This thoroughly entertaining new play is directed by Tony Speciale and will run September 30 – October 29, 2017 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Previews run September 30 – October 4, with opening night on Thursday, October 5 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets start at $30 and are now on sale.

Chuck DeSantis is a brash New Jersey detective eager for a case that gets him out from behind his desk. On one extraordinary day, he finds it: the disappearance of teenager Leonard Pelkey. Digging deeper and deeper into Leonard’s life, Chuck follows clues that lead him to unexpected places and show him how one boy’s bravery can light the way toward truth. James Lecesne delivers a solo tour de force, effortlessly bringing to life the inhabitants of a colorful seaside town as they awaken to the beauty of being different. The New York Times called Lecesne one of “the most talented solo performers of his (or any) generation” and said The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey “leaves you beaming with joy.”

James Lecesne (Playwright, Performer) wrote 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. He created The Road Home: Stories of Children of War, which was presented at the International Peace Initiative at The Hague. He adapted Armistead Maupin’s Further Tales of the City for Showtime (Emmy nomination) and was a writer on the series “Will & Grace.” He has written three novels for young adults, and created The Letter Q, a collection of letters by Queer writers written to their younger selves. As an actor, he has appeared on TV (“Sex and the City”), on Broadway (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man), and Off Broadway (The Boys in the Band, Cloud 9, One Man Band, Word of Mouth; Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Awards). He won awards from The Off Broadway Theater Alliance, The United Solo Festival, and The Outer Critics Circle for his performance in The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. jameslecesne.com.

Tony Speciale (Director) is the artistic director of Abingdon Theatre Company in New York City. He conceived, co-authored, and directed the world premiere of Unnatural Acts (Classic Stage Company, Drama Desk Award nominee, GLAAD Media Award nominee). His New York credits include The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Westside Theatre/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 Stet (Abingdon). His regional credits include The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Kirk Douglas Theatre), Barry Manilow’s Harmony (Alliance Theatre/Ahmanson Theatre), and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Speciale served four seasons as associate artistic director of Classic Stage Company, holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Columbia University, and is the proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium and Suzi Bass Award. tonyspeciale.com.

The creative team includes Jo Winiarski (Scenic Design), Matt Richards (Lighting Design), Christian Frederickson (Sound Design), Duncan Sheik (Original Music), Matthew Sandager (Original Animation and Photography), Paul Marlow (Clothing), Calleri Casting (Tour Casting), Hannah Woodward (Production Stage Manager), Production Core (Tour Production Supervisor), DR Theatrical Management (Tour General Management), DR Advertising (National Brand Management), and DR Theatrical Licensing (North American Tour Booking).

“The Globe has produced some memorable solo shows during my tenure here, and The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey will be another unforgettable one,” said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “Introducing us to a small Jersey town rocked by the disappearance of one young man, James Lecesne gives us a gripping whodunit but populates it with a gallery of eccentrics who are entertaining, surprising, and deeply human. Lecesne’s writing is as fierce as it is funny, and his performance is truly a tour de force. Best of all, Brightness tells a moving story of tolerance and openness to difference that none of us can hear enough. I’m excited to open our new season in the White Theatre with this special show.”

The Old Globe has partnered with The Center (the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center) to create a lobby art exhibit for The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. Young people from the Hillcrest Youth Center, with the guidance of Globe Teaching Artists, will explore the themes of the play, particularly identity, difference, and individuality. Inspired by the character of Leonard Pelkey, who wears a pair of uniquely decorated high-top sneakers, the young artists will create embellished shoes that represent their own “brightness.” The shoes will be on display throughout the production’s run along with self-portraits and writing by the young artists. The exhibit is included in the price of ticket to The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey in the Viterbi Family Lobby of the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. The exhibit will also be open to the public on Balboa Park Free Tuesdays, October 3, 10, and 17, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. The Subject Matters presentation on Saturday, October 7, part of our humanities programming, will feature Globe Teaching Artists and several of the teenagers involved in the creation of the exhibit.

The Off Broadway production of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey was presented at the Westside Theatre in New York City. Originally developed and presented at Dixon Place in New York City. Original New York projection design by Aaron Rhyne. The tour team includes Darren Bagert, Daryl Roth, Jane Dubin, Curtis Forsythe, Michael Mayer, Diane Procter, Seaview Productions, and Minerva Productions/Joshua Goodman.

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey is supported in part through gifts from Production Sponsors Elaine and Dave Darwin, The Prado at Balboa Park, Karen and Stuart Tanz, and US Bank.

Additional events taking place during the run of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey include:

VICKI AND CARL ZEIGER INSIGHTS SEMINAR: Tuesday, October 3 at 5:30 p.m.

An opportunity to closely connect with productions both onstage and backstage. A panel selected from the artistic company of each show (playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and/or technicians) engages patrons in an informal and illuminating presentation of ideas and insights to enhance the theatregoing experience. Reception at 5:00 p.m. FREE.

 

SUBJECT MATTERS: Saturday, October 7, following the 2:00 p.m. matinee.

Explore the ideas and issues raised by a production through brief, illuminating post-show discussions with local experts, in this case feature Globe Teaching Artists and several of the teenagers involved in the creation of the lobby art exhibit. Subject Matters will ignite discussion, bring the play’s concerns into sharp focus, and encourage you to think beyond the stage! FREE.

POST-SHOW FORUMS: Tuesday, October 10; Tuesday, October 17; and Wednesday, October 25.

Join us after the show for an informal and enlightening question-and-answer session with cast, crew, and/or Globe staff members. Get the inside story on creating a character and putting together a professional production. FREE.

SINGLE TICKETS to The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey start at $30, now on sale, and can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors, military members, and groups of 10 or more. Performances begin on September 30 and continue through October 29, 2017. Performance times: Previews: Saturday, September 30 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. Opening night is Thursday, October 5 at 8:00 p.m. Regular performances (October 6–29): Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will be an additional matinee performance on Wednesday, October 18 at 2:00 p.m. There will be no performance on Saturday, October 21 at 2:00 p.m.

LOCATION and PARKING INFORMATION: The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. Through a special arrangement with the San Diego Zoo, Old Globe evening ticket-holders have the opportunity to pre-purchase valet parking in the Zoo’s employee parking structure. With a drop-off point just a short walk to the Globe, theatregoers may purchase fast, easy, convenient valet parking for just $14 per vehicle per evening. Pre-paid only, available only by phone through the Old Globe Box Office. Call (619) 234-5623 or visit
www.theoldglobe.org/plan-your-visit/directions--parking/valet-parking.

There are numerous free parking lots available throughout the park. Guests may also be dropped off in front of the Mingei International Museum. The Balboa Park valet is also available during performances, located in front of the Japanese Friendship Garden. For additional parking information visit www.BalboaPark.org. For directions and up-to-date information, please visit www.theoldglobe.org/plan-your-visit/directions--parking/detailed-directions.

PLEASE NOTE: To look up online or GPS directions to The Old Globe, please do not use the Delivery Address above. There is only a 10-minute zone at that physical address. For GPS users, please click here for the map coordinates, and here for written directions to The Old Globe and nearby parking in Balboa Park.

CALENDAR: Hamlet (8/6–9/22), Benny & Joon (9/7–10/22), The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (9/30–10/29), AXIS: The Journey Encore Installation (10/6–10/8), AXIS: Q&A with The Journey (10/6), AXIS @ Maker Faire: Give Love (10/7), AXIS: Day of the Dead (10/29), Globe for All Tour: Twelfth Night (10/31–11/19), Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (11/4–12/24), M.F.A.: Romeo and Juliet (11/11–11/19), AXIS: Rock Out With Romeo (11/18), AXIS:Culture Shock’s Hip Hop The Nutcracker Teaser (12/23), The Importance of Being Earnest (1/27/18–3/4), Uncle Vanya (2/10–3/11), AXIS: Give Love San Diego (2/10), American Mariachi (3/23–4/29), AXIS: American Mariachi Event (3/31), The Wanderers (4/5–5/6), AXIS: Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare! (4/21), A Thousand Splendid Suns (5/12–6/17), Native Gardens (5/26–6/24), Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (7/2–8/12).

PHOTO EDITORS: Digital images of The Old Globe’s productions are available at www.theoldglobe.org/press-room.

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for over 80 years. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre’s artistic and arts engagement programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bright Star, Allegiance, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.

 

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CREATIVE TEAM BIOGRAPHIES

Jo Winiarski (Scenic Design) is a set designer and art director. Her Off Broadway credits include: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey; Love, Loss, and What I Wore; multiple shows with The Pearl Theatre Company; The Jewish American Princess of Comedy; and I Love You Because. Other New York theatre companies she has designed for are New Georges, The New Group, Keen Company, Clubbed Thumb, Relentless Theater Company, and The Roundtable Ensemble. Jo’s regional design credits include 12 seasons at the Utah Shakespeare Festival (having designed over 30 shows), the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Dallas Theater Center, Geva Theatre, the Hangar Theatre, and the Virginia State Company. Jo is the art director on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” She received an Emmy nomination for A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All.

Matt Richards (Lighting Design) Broadway: Ann. Off Broadway: Theatre for a New Audience, Lincoln Center, MCC, Play Company, Playwright Horizons, Rattlestick, Second Stage. Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Play House, Dallas Theater Center, Ford’s Theatre, The Goodman, The Guthrie, Hartford Stage, The Huntington, La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf, The Old Globe, Shakespeare Theatre, Westport Playhouse, Williamstown, Yale Repertory Theatre. Graduate: University of Massachusetts, Yale School of Drama.

Christian Frederickson (Sound Design) is a violist, composer, and sound designer 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: Seven Guitars, Dot (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Glory of the World, The Master Builder, Trojan Women (BAM), Custodians of Beauty (NYLA), Through the Yellow Hour (Rattlestick), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Unnatural Acts, Three Sisters (Classic Stage Company).

Duncan Sheik (Original Music) Theatre credits include Spring Awakening (2006), Tony Awards for Best Orchestrations and Best Original Score, 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album; American Psycho (2016); Because of Winn Dixie (Delaware Theatre Company 2015); Whisper House, (The Old Globe 2011); Alice by Heart (currently in development); Nero (Another Golden Rome) (currently in development); The Nightingale (currently in development); Noir (currently in development). Recorded works include American Psycho (Original London Cast Recording) (2016), Legerdemain (2015), Covers 80s (Sneaky Records 2011), Whisper House (Sony 2009), Spring Awakening (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (2006), White Limousine (Rounder 2006), Daylight (Atlantic Records 2002), Phantom Moon (Nonesuch 2001), Humming (Atlantic Records 1998), Duncan Sheik (Grammy nomination for Best Male Vocal, RIAA Certified Gold) (Atlantic Records 1996).

Matthew Sandager (Original Animation and Photography) is a photographer, filmmaker, and animator based in New York. His work has appeared in publications and has been exhibited in gallery shows and film festivals, in New York and around the world. With a multidisciplinary approach, he has worked with a broad range of talented artists, including his longstanding collaboration with James Lecesne. James and Matthew’s ongoing video series “Letter to the Editor” can be seen at matthewsandager.com.

Paul Marlow (Clothing) 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. He 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.

Calleri Casting (Tour Casting). James Calleri, Paul Davis, Erica Jensen. Broadway: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Visit, Living on Love, The Elephant Man (also West End), Of Mice and Men, Venus in Fur, 33 Variations, A Raisin in the Sun, Chicago, The Dead, Fool for Love. Select Off Broadway: Lives of Saints, Buyer & Cellar, Murder for Two, All in the Timing, Passion, Fuerza Bruta, SILENCE! The Musical. CSC, Rattlestick, Flea, Long Wharf, McCarter, Williamstown, Berkeley Rep, Keen, City, ATL, Playwrights Horizons. Member CSA. callericasting.com.

Hannah Woodward (Production Stage Manager) is very happy to be returning to the Brightness with this wonderful group of people. New York credits include: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Westside Downstairs, Bay Street, Hartford Stage Company, Kirk Douglas Theatre, LA), The Government Inspector (Red Bull Theater), The Moors (Playwrights Realm), Homos, or Everyone in America (Labyrinth), The Woodsman (New World Stages), Nice Girl (Labyrinth), Buyer & Cellar (Rattlestick, Barrow Street, National Tour, Westport), The Belle of Amherst (Westside Upstairs), Bad Jews (Roundabout Underground), My Children! My Africa! (Signature). Regional: McCarter Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Ogunquit Playhouse.

Production Core (Tour Production Supervisor) provides support and guidance to theatre companies that produce high-quality theatrical performances and need direction/support on the collaboration, planning, and execution of the production process. The Production Core team is James E. Cleveland, S.M Payson, David Upton, Chasmin Hallyburton, Leah Vogel, Felicia Hall, Grace Richardson, Emma Ramsay-Saxon, Jeremy Traber Owens, Sara Stevens, and Cheyenne Doczi. Current projects include The Moors at Playwrights Realm, Soulpepper at the Signature Theatre and All the Fine Boys at The New Group. productioncore.net.

DR Theatrical Management (General Management) Current/upcoming productions include Off Broadway: In & Of Itself; The Violin; Hot Mess; Vineyard Theatre’s 2017–18 Season: Harry Clarke, The Amateurs, The Beast in the Jungle; National Tours: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey and Wiesenthal; New Dramatists 68th Annual Spring Luncheon. Past productions: Indecent (Broadway); Ernest Shackleton Loves Me; Buyer & Cellar; The Woodsman; Clever Little Lies; Nevermore…; My Name is Asher Lev; Tail! Spin!; Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Traces; Vineyard Theatre’s Kid Victory, Gloria, and Dot; The New Group’s The Spoils, Rasheeda Speaking, and Sticks and Bones; among others. DRTheatrical.com.

Darren Bagert (Producer) is an award-winning Broadway producer, having won multiple Tony Awards, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards. Currently producing the new musical Dear Evan Hansen, An Amerian in Paris (US Tour and London), and Travesties (London). Other productions include: The Color Purple, The Truth (London), Absolute Brightness (US Tour and NY), Buyer & Cellar (US Tour, NY, and London), Side Show, Of Mice and Men, The Glass Menagerie, Sweeney Todd (US Tour and NY), Company, The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, My Name is Asher Lev (US Tour and NY), Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, among others. With many projects now in development, Darren continues to bring exceptional theatre to larger audiences.

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 proud recipient of 11 Tony Awards and London’s Olivier Award, her over 110 award-winning productions include Kinky Boots (2013 Tony, 2016 Olivier); Buyer & Cellar; Caroline, or Change; Curtains;Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (2002 Tony); Hello, Dolly! (2017 Tony); The Humans (2016 Tony); Indecent; It Shoulda Been You; Love, Loss, and What I Wore; The Normal Heart (2011 Tony); Shuffle Along; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; A View from the Bridge (2016 Tony); War Horse (2011 Tony); Wiesenthal; and The Year of Magical Thinking. Love to Steven, my wonderful family, Louie, Lucy, and Leo ever in my heart. DarylRothProductions.com.

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey

Written and performed by James Lecesne

Directed by Tony Speciale

RUNS: September 30 – October 29, 2017

Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre

Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

TICKETS: Tickets start at $30, on sale now.

SYNOPSIS: Chuck DeSantis is a brash New Jersey detective eager for a case that gets him out from behind his desk. On one extraordinary day, he finds it: the disappearance of teenager Leonard Pelkey. Digging deeper and deeper into Leonard’s life, Chuck follows clues that lead him to unexpected places and show him how one boy’s bravery can light the way toward truth. James Lecesne delivers a solo tour de force, effortlessly bringing to life the inhabitants of a colorful seaside town as they awaken to the beauty of being different. The New York Times called Lecesne one of “the most talented solo performers of his (or any) generation” and said The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey “leaves you beaming with joy.”

CAST: James Lecesne

CREATIVE TEAM: Jo Winiarski (Scenic Design), Matt Richards (Lighting Design), Christian Frederickson (Sound Design), Duncan Sheik (Original Music), Matthew Sandager (Original Animation and Photography), Paul Marlow (Clothing), Calleri Casting (Tour Casting), Hannah Woodward (Production Stage Manager), Production Core (Tour Production Supervisor), DR Theatrical Management (Tour General Management), DR Advertising (National Brand Management), DR Theatrical Licensing (North American Tour Booking).

VICKI AND CARL ZEIGER INSIGHTS SEMINAR: Tuesday October 3 at 5:30 p.m.

The seminar series features a panel from the artistic company of the show. Reception at 5:00 p.m. FREE

SUBJECT MATTERS: Saturday, October 7, following the 2:00 p.m. matinee.

The seminar series features a panel from the artistic company of the show. FREE.

POST-SHOW FORUMS: Tuesday, October 10; Tuesday, October 17; and Wednesday, October 25

Discuss the play with members of the cast, crew, and/or Globe staff following the performance. FREE.

PREVIEW PERFORMANCES:

September 30 SAT 8:00pm

October 1 SUN 7:00pm

October 3 TUE 7:00pm (Zeiger Insights Seminar)

October 4 WED 7:00pm

OPENING NIGHT: October 5 THU 8:00pm

REGULAR PERFORMANCES:

October 6 FRI 8:00pm

October 7 SAT 2:00pm (Subject Matters)

October 7 SAT 8:00pm

October 8 SUN 2:00pm

October 8 SUN 7:00pm

October 10 TUE 7:00pm (Post-Show Forum)

October 11 WED 7:00pm

October 12 THU 8:00pm

October 13 FRI 8:00pm

October 14 SAT 2:00pm

October 14 SAT 8:00pm

October 15 SUN 2:00pm

October 15 SUN 7:00pm

October 17 TUE 7:00pm (Post-Show Forum)

October 18 WED 2:00pm

October 18 WED 7:00pm

October 19 THU 8:00pm

October 20 FRI 8:00pm

October 21 SAT 8:00pm

October 22 SUN 2:00pm

October 22 SUN 7:00pm

October 24 TUE 7:00pm

October 25 WED 7:00pm (Post-Show Forum)

October 26 THU 8:00pm

October 27 FRI 8:00pm

October 28 SAT 2:00pm

October 28 SAT 8:00pm

October 29 SUN 2:00pm

October 29 SUN 7:00pm

 

PRESS CONTACTS:

Susan Chicoine (619) 238-0043 x2352 / (619) 325-9416
   schicoine@TheOldGlobe.org

Mike Hausberg (619) 238-0043 x2355
   mhausberg@TheOldGlobe.org

Alejandra Enciso (619) 238-0043 x2356
   aenciso@TheOldGlobe.or