Firebird Youth Theater, Leo’s teen-run theater company, recently produced a stage adaptation of Romeo + Juliet, directed by Leo. In August 2017, National Youth Arts granted Firebird Youth Theater four awards and one nomination, including an award for outstanding direction.
Awards: Benny Rendell – Outstanding Lead Actor Naomi Murphy – Outstanding Lead Actress Leo Lion – Outstanding Director Company – Outstanding Ensemble
Wingspan Arts‘ Summer production of Into the Woods performed August 13th, 14th, and 15th, featuring Leo as The Baker. This innovative production of the classic musical was directed by Marissa Porto, and is Leo’s sixth Wingspan production (following The Wiz, Annie, Shrek the Musical, Romeo and Juliet, and Godspell).
Patrick Farenga interviewed Firebird Youth Theater founder Leo Lion and another teen director from Boston about their work in youth-led theater, for a piece on the John Holt blog, Growing Without Schooling. Check out his article, “More Teenage Drama? Yes!”
ROMEO + JULIET
Adapted by Leo Lion & Zoe Senese-Grossberg
Directed by Leo Lion
Romeo and Juliet is the most famous love story of all time – but who is it really about? Firebird’s answer is: “It’s about teenagers.” Grounding their production in the evocative themes of youth and growth, FYT is pulling age to the foreground with a mixed-age cast of adults and teens. This intergenerational, present-day take on the Elizabethan classic is tailored to resonate with modern teenagers and make the trials of the play’s young heroes hit close to home for the new generation.
This age-centric production is fraught with significance for the award-winning Firebird Youth Theater, which is run entirely by teenagers. ROMEO + JULIET will be the company’s fifth annual production, following last year’s world-premiere of a new adaptation of the literary classic Treasure Island. Firebird’s past two shows both received National Youth Arts awards for Direction and Ensemble. This year’s production is FYT’s first to feature adult actors. 17-year-old director Leo Lion says, “Romeo and Juliet is usually performed either with adults or with youth actors, never with both. Putting the true number of years between these children and their parents gives the story new life. We’re a teen-run company committed to creating adult-grade work – who is better suited to tell this story?”
Leo is a winner of 2016's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), having completed the first draft of a novel in 30 days. The current manuscript of the novel, which is called "After", received an Honorable Mention for Novel Writing in the 2016 Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards.
Firebird Youth Theater, Leo’s teen-run theater company, recently produced a stage adaptation of Treasure Island, directed by Leo. In August 2016, National Youth Arts granted Firebird Youth Theater four awards and five nominations, including an award for outstanding direction.
Alioune Fall – Outstanding Supporting Actor
Leigh Stern – Outstanding Supporting Actress
Leo Lion – Outstanding Director
Company – Outstanding Ensemble
Jeremiah Burch – Supporting Actor
Julien Feret – Supporting Actor
Leo Lion – Supporting Actor
Benny Rendell – Supporting Actor
Kenzo Repola – Original Music/Sound Design
Wingspan Arts‘ Summer production of Godspell performed August 11th, 13th, and 14th, featuring Leo as Judas/John. This colorful, electric, and starkly relevant production of the 2011 revival of the classic musical, was directed by Valerie Issembert, and is Leo’s fifth Wingspan production (following The Wiz, Annie, Shrek the Musical, and Romeo and Juliet).
Leo’s play Clean Hands was produced as part of Writopia Lab’s Worldwide Plays Festival on May 21st, 2016. The play was directed by Kristin Skye Hoffmann.
This war drama brings two enemies in close proximity. In this volatile space, the young soldier Wes is forced to consider impossible questions: what is strength and what is weakness in a war zone? Is he a killer or a kid? Can he live with either option?
This is Leo’s third play to be produced in the Worldwide Plays Festival. Previous productions include They Grow Up Fast and Before Barnaby (No Tears).
An article by Raven Snook about Leo’s teen-run theater company, Firebird Youth Theater, was published in TDF Stages Magazine in May of 2016. An extended interview with Leo covers the work Firebird does with young people, their 2016 production of Treasure Island, and their plans for the future.
Leo Lion and Thomas Pflanz of the teen-run Firebird Youth Theater were interviewed by Joanne Rendell for a new article on The Huffington Post about the process and motivation behind youth-led theatre work, and their time collaborating on Firebird productions.