R.U.R. (JULY 2018, NYC)

By Karel Chapek

R.U.R. is the play that first coined the word ‘robot.’ Written in 1921 and set sometime after the year 2000, it depicts a secluded island factory that produces the most valued product around the world: artificial people. The human inhabitants of the island, employees of Rossum’s Universal Robots, are there to keep the factory running and maintain the secret of the robots’ creation. But something is beginning to change about the robots – something the humans aren’t quite able to control...

Now, not long after the real year 2000, R.U.R. serves as an eerie reflection of the fascination mankind has with replicating itself. Why, so long after the term was coined, do we continue to love robots, to fear robots, to be perplexed by robots? What is it about building something ‘almost human’ that so appeals to us? Why does the fantasy persist of handing our work off to virtual, digital assistants - to Siri, to Cortana, to Alexa? And what happens when two such machines can speak with each other - when they begin to realize that they don’t need us anymore?



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.



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).



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.

Treasure Island 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.

  • He later directed a reading starring Phoenix's Craig Smith in The Death of Ivan Illych, after Tolstoy, adapted by Stephen Sharkey