If a man is indeed known by the company he keeps, then Kenny Leon isn't doing too shabbily.
Leon will be directing Denzel Washington in the Broadway revival of "Fences." Previews start April 14 at New York's Cort Theatre, with the drama premiering April 26 for a limited 13-week engagement.
"People forget that Denzel is a theater baby," Leon said of his star, who got his start studying and acting at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre and at New York's Negro Ensemble Company. "He's returning to the stage, and finding him ready, willing and eager only gives me more energy."
That's good, since the Atlanta-based director is an unusually busy man. Leon spoke Friday from Los Angeles, where he's directing an episode of "Private Practice." He was heading to New York that night to add to a "Fences" cast that also includes Tony Award winner Viola Davis. Then he's back in Atlanta this week to begin rehearsals for a multi-cultural "Our Town" for his True Colors Theatre Company that begins previews Feb. 21 (tickets: 877-725-8849).
Having, meanwhile, to prepare to lead the first Broadway revival of "Fences," the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play by August Wilson, doesn't faze him.. "I like it when things are moving fast," the director said. "I love being busy."
Leon, whose 2004 Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" won two Tony Awards, has had a long, fruitful relationship with the Wilson canon. As the Alliance Theatre starting in the late 1980s, he made a name for himself staging works from Wilson's 10-play chronicle of African-American life in the 20th century. He opened True Colors in 2003 with "Fences, " attended by the playwright.
A "Fences" ticket pre-sale exclusively for American Express card-holders began this week; general public sales begin Jan. 30: 800-432-7250, www.telecharge.com .
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