Podcast Episode 101 – Tony Award Winning Director and Diversity Advocate, Kenny Leon

It was 9 AM on the set of Hairspray Live! when I sat down with Tony Award- winning Kenny Leon for this interview, and they were just a couple weeks away from their telecast.  But you wouldn’t know it with how cool Kenny was.  There were PAs running left and right, wardrobe folks talking about this and that, but to Kenny, all was under control.

And under his watchful and discerning eye, I’m sure it was.  (I think I was more nervous about taking him away from the set.)

The best Directors I’ve worked with “never let you see ’em sweat,” no matter what happens on or off the stage.  Kenny has worked with some of the biggest names in the business from Denzel to August Wilson on shows like A Raisin in the Sun (twice!), The Mountaintop, Radio Golf, Holler If Ya Hear Me, and more.  There’s a reason these actors and authors trust him.  Not only is he fiercely talented but he makes them feel terrifically taken care of.

Listen in to hear Kenny talk about all the things a Director needs to be in the 21st-century, as well as . . .

  • What he did when a teacher told him he shouldn’t be a Director.
  • How he taught homeless people how to act.
  • Why all Directors should try their hand at acting.
  • Telecasts . . . the beginning of a revolution and why.
  • How we’re doing on diversity, and what he would tell future Directors of color.

Oh, and don’t forget to tune into Hairspray Live! this Wednesday, December 7th at 8 PM ET n NBC!

Click here to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Sorry about the sound issues in this podcast. We found the bug and fixed it in later episodes. It gets better, I promise 🙂


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.