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Kenny Leon

Andy Kropa / Invision/AP

Be it directing for the stage or the screen, Kenny Leon is a living legend. He's even directed the stage for the screen, including "The Wiz Live" and "Hairspray Live" for NBC.

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photo of Kenny Leon (left) courtesy True Colors Theatre Company, photo of Paul Conroy credit Tyler Ogburn

Earlier this year, ArtsATL columnist Gail O'Neill launched a 12-part series recognizing the artists elevating our city's arts and culture landscape. It's called the Legacy Series, and the latest profile is of True Colors Theatre Company co-founder and artistic director Kenny Leon.

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Trae Patton / NBC via AP

After the excitement and success of last year’s live national telecast of “The Wiz,” it’s fair to say that expectations are pretty high for tonight’s live production of “Hairspray.”

That success, along with the high expectations, falls largely on the shoulders of Atlanta’s own Kenny Leon. The Tony Award-winning Artistic Director of True Colors Theatre Company was tapped to direct both “The Wiz” and now “Hairspray” for what is now NBC’s annual tradition of live TV musical broadcasts for the holidays.

Tony Taylor started practicing his guitar on Stone Mountain more than 20 years ago. One of his favorite singers is Adele.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Retizes":

Ryan Nabulsi / for WABE

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Virginia Sherwood / NBCUniversal

The third time's the charm.

But NBC isn't just banking on luck with their third live musical theater telecast in as many years. For Thursday's production of "The Wiz Live!," NBC asked Atlanta's own Kenny Leon to direct the iconic 1974 adaptation of the classic children's novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."

Leon is no stranger to adaptations and revivals himself. He won the 2014 Tony Award for best director for his revival of "A Raisin in the Sun," which he also directed for television in 2008.

Evan Agostini / Invision/AP

Think back to life before the web, when people wrote letters, and bought tickets from a person behind a window-to see a Picasso, you might have to go to the library or hop on a plane. Never in human history has the way we share information been so dramatically altered in such a short time, so we’re asking leaders in the arts community how they’ve adjusted to the times.

Jennifer Dwyer McEwen / WABE

True Colors Theatre Company Artistic Director Kenny Leon is fresh off winning a Tony Award for directing his revival of "A Raisin in the Sun."

Now he's jumping back into work, but this time he's on stage. Leon asked his longtime friend — and co-founder of Actor's Express — Chris Coleman to direct him in "Same Time Next Year."

Kevin Lynch

This Sunday, a remake of the movie Steel Magnolias premieres on the Lifetime Television Network.

Atlanta based and award-winning theatrical director Kenny Leon directed the movie.

The premise of the movie is the same, the friendship among a group of Southern women dealing with a tragedy.

The remake is a star-studded African American cast.

The 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, starring Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, is remembered for its portrayal of a white couple whose attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home an African-American fiancé. Tonight, True Colors Theater debuts a stage adaptation.

WABE’s Lois Reitzes sat down with the play’s director Kenny Leon, and actor Tom Key.