Atlanta native Kenny Leon has earned himself one of the most prestigious awards for his hard work and dedication bringing the history and reality of Black life to the stage. He has not only earned his first Tony Award for the best direction of a play for his revival of A Raisin in the Sun, but he has also given the world one of its best revival of a play. British actress Sophie Okonedo also added to the “Raisin” collection with a win for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play.
A Raisin in the Sun received five Tony Award nominations. In winning his first career Tony, Leon was nominated once before in 2010 for Fences, the ever-gracious Leon first thanked his snubbed leading man. “Denzel, Denzel, Denzel,” he said in regard to Denzel Washington, “he’s truly a theater inspiration.”
Leon, the founder of Atlanta’s True Colors Theatre, was backstage talking to the press when someone pointed to the monitor to make him aware of Okonedo’s win.
“YES! YES!” Leon yelled, clenching his fist. “She works harder than anyone. Sophie, I love you. Oh, man.”
After taking the stage again to accept the best revival of a play award, Leon said, “This is the most amazing cast in the world every night because they sit on stage and they LISTEN to each other.”
Once Leon officially launches Holler in a few weeks, he will return to Atlanta to begin rehearsals with Phylicia Rashad for Same Time Next Year at True Colors, which will run July 8-August 3rd. However, Leon will be on the other side of the stage as an actor!
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