Directing

 
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The death of ivan ilyich (2018, NYC & Rockland)

In Stephen Sharkey’s new adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novella, the arrogant and competitive Ivan comes to terms with his own mortality. This interactive solo performances transforms the audience into a support group for the recently dead, still addicted to life. Performed by Craig Smith, hailed by the New York Times as "one of New York's consistently fine actors" and by Playgoer.com as "a downtown legend." BroadwayWorld calls Death of Ivan “a small masterpiece.” On TolstoyPlay.com, Smith & Lion discuss the production’s creation.

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Summer of humanity (2018, NYC)

R.U.R. by Karel Chapek / The Tempest by William Shakespeare

The Summer of Humanity was a two-part season that explored the way humankind relates to and struggles with forces which may or may not be ours to control.

Written in 1921, R.U.R. is the first literary work to coin the word ‘robot.’ It takes place around the year 2000, and depicts the rise and fall of a company that creates artificial people. Not long after the real year 2000, this production of R.U.R. serves as an eerie reflection of the fascination mankind has with replicating itself. What is it about building something ‘almost human’ that so appeals to us? Why does the fantasy persist of handing our work off to artificial assistants? And what happens when two such machines can speak with each other - when they begin to realize that they don’t need us anymore?

Firebird’s revisiting of Shakespeare’s final comedy, The Tempest, centers on the relationship between humanity and the natural world, bringing to the forefront the ties that keep us tethered and pull us asunder. This new production makes The Island itself an active player in the machinations of exiled royalty and dejected drunkards. At what cost will humanity take what it wants? Are we ready to accept those costs? What do we hold onto when the storm hits? And will it hold us?

OUR TOWN (APRIL 2018, NYC)

By Thornton Wilder

A fresh look at the beloved American classic by Thornton Wilder. 80 years after Wilder’s brilliantly bittersweet portrait of small-town life first opened on Broadway, the people of Grover’s Corners are back on the small stage, and they’re almost ready to get started... in just a minute... any day now...

This performance-centric take on Our Town thrusts the Stage Manager narrator into the (possibly busted) spotlight. Leaning into Wilder’s famous use of theatrical convention and absent fourth wall, this visit to Grover’s Corners is visually styled after a tech rehearsal, where time is precious, somehow both sluggishly dragging and swiftly running out.

Our Town performed April 27th-29th, 2018, at the Hudson Guild Theatre in NYC, and received 4 National Youth Arts Awards in 2017 (Outstanding Direction, Ensemble, Lead Actor & Actress).
“Our Town" was presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

ROMEo + JULIET (JUNE 2017, NYC)

Adapted from the Shakespeare by Leo Lion & Zoe Senese-Grossberg

Shakespeare’s 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 pulls 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.

R + J performed June 16th-18th, 2017, at the Hudson Guild Theatre in NYC.

Romeo + Juliet received 4 National Youth Arts Awards in 2017 (Outstanding Direction, Ensemble, Lead Actor & Actress).

TREASURE ISLAND (May 2016, NYC)

Based on the book by Robert Louis Stevenson
Adapted for the stage by Leo Lion and Thomas Pflanz

Treasure Island is an original adaptation of the classic English novel of the same name. A small but versatile cast breathes new life into a rollicking ocean journey full of mystery, murder, and treasure. When a drunk old sailor and a secret map arrive on the doorstep of a coastal English tavern, innkeeper’s son Jim Hawkins finds himself falling fast into an adventure that will change his life for good.

Treasure Island performed May 5th-8th, 2016, at Roy Arias 777 Theatre, and received 3 National Youth Arts Awards in 2016 (Outstanding Direction, Ensemble & Supporting Actor) and 4 nominations in other categories, including Original Score & Sound Design.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (April 2015, NYC)

Based on the book by Lewis Carroll
Adapted for the stage by Leo Lion and Thomas Pflanz

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an original adaptation of the renowned novel of the same name. “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.

"Alice" performed April 17th-19th, 2015, at Roy Arias Theatre, Stage II.

In 2015, “Alice” received three awards and two nominations from National Youth Arts.

expresso (May 2014, NYC)

By Leo & Pavel Lion
Directed by Leo Lion

eXpresso tells the story of a small business threatened by the looming monopolistic powers and the state of the economy. The piece takes place in a local independent coffee-shop trying desperately to stay in business after a “Sckubrats” opens up across the street. Hilarity ensues as the employees of Brown Coffee House, often eccentric and misguided, all scramble to get business booming again and rid their area of the corporate plague.

eXpresso performed May 2nd-4th, 2014, at Roy Arias Theatre, Stage II.  


  • Leo has also served as Assistant Director on Phoenix Theatre Ensemble's 2018 production of JUDAS by Robert Patrick.