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.
Leafman, a short student film directed by Dan Allen, stars Leo as the titular being of nature. The film is produced by KnightFilms and was released on YouTube in fall of 2015. In February of 2016, the film received a Regional Gold Key in the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Its gold status means that the film is now going into the national level competition – hopefully, more on this soon.
A 12-minute mockumentary short directed by Leo is now available on YouTube. The film is produced by KnightFilms, an innovative “improv-filmmaking” studio created by Leo and fellow filmmaker Dan Allen.
The film, starring both Knightfilms founders in the unlikely pairing of a pretentious film director and a literal goat, is a self-described “exploration of the human condition” – commenting on issues of discrimination, crooked artistic agendas, and the struggle that follows a loss of balance.
Firebird Youth Theater, Leo’s teen-run theater company, recently produced a stage adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, directed by Leo. In August 2015, National Youth Arts granted Firebird Youth Theater three awards and two nominations, including an award for outstanding direction.
Leigh Stern – Outstanding Lead Actress
Leo Lion – Outstanding Director
Company – Outstanding Ensemble
Alioune Fall – Supporting Actor
Kaiulani Lee – Supporting Actress
Wingspan Arts‘ Summer production of Romeo and Juliet performed August 13th, 15th, and 16th, featuring Leo as Mercutio, Friar Laurence, and the Apothecary. The play, an imaginative ensemble production with a cast of 12 teenagers, was directed by Valerie Issembert, and is Leo’s fourth Wingspan production (following The Wiz, Annie, and Shrek the Musical).
Photos from final dress rehearsal – August 12th
The DVD video recording of the production is for sale, at $20 a copy. Email Firebird at firstname.lastname@example.org to order yours today!
“Alice” is a transformative theatrical adventure, brought to life by a versatile ensemble and artfully crafted visuals. Creating Wonderland, envisioned in a new, yet familiar light, the show seeks to bring out the child in every audience member, inviting them to explore their imagination to the fullest.
In Spring of 2015, Leo directed a stage production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with Firebird Youth Theater, a teen-run theater company he founded in 2013, and for which he serves as Artistic Director. The script was an original adaptation of the classic novel of the same name by Lewis Carroll, adapted for the stage by Leo and Thomas Pflanz. The play performed April 17th-19th, 2015, at Roy Arias Theatre, Stage II.
An article by Joanne Rendell about the production was published on Huffington Posts’s Education Section on May 26th, 2015. Visit the article at the link below:
Leo’s short play Ties is a finalist in Young Playwrights Inc.’s “Write a Play! NYC” Playwriting Competition 2015. This is Leo’s second play to receive a finalist title in this competition, the first being his full-length play The Internet Island Project, which made the finalists in 2014.
Ties is a stinging and cathartic play, about a very young boy who suffers a great loss. The script tackles the poignant and deeply relevant question of how children can come to terms with the mortality of those around them.
The Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art closes on May 17th. The exhibit featured both Leo Lion’s gold-key winning works: Backdoor (Photography) and Old News (Flash Fiction)
Old News was previously published by Imagine Magazine (2014), winning 2nd place Imagine Magazine’s Creative Minds Fiction Contest in 2014.
And although the exhibit is now closed, Backdoor will continue to be part of the “Selected Student Artworks” gallery on the museum website.
On May 16th, Young Playwrights Inc held this year’s last series of staged readings, a program which was the culmination of 2014-2015’s Advanced Playwriting Workshop, in which Leo participated. The evening opened with a staged reading of Leo’s play, Unplug.
Unplug is a short one-act science-fiction play that explores the poignant relationship between a machine and her creator, raising dark and difficult questions about humanity and the right to understanding.