CINNABAR THEATER TO PRESENT SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA PREMIERE OF
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
STARRING MICHAEL PAVONE AND DIRECTED BY NATHAN CUMMINGS
IN VIRTUAL BROADCAST PERFORMANCES JANUARY 22 – 31, 2021
Tickets Now on Sale; www.cinnabartheater.org or Call (707) 763-8920
Petaluma, CA (January 4, 2021) — Cinnabar Theater today announced plans to present the Bay Area premiere of playwright James Lecesne’s critically acclaimed one-man play, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,starring renowned actor Michael Pavone in his Cinnabar Theater debut and directed by Nathan Cummings in a performance to be virtually broadcast beginning Friday, January 22 at 7 p.m., continuing with on-demand streaming through Sunday, January 31.
When openly gay, fun-loving 14-year-old Leonard Pelkey goes missing from a small New Jersey shore town, the secrets of the townspeople are brought to light, and everyone is forced to examine the effect of one boy’s life on a fractured community. Adapted from Lecesne’s novel by the same name, this 80-minute monodrama filled with nine different colorful characters, begins with the news of Leonard’s disappearance and follows the criminal investigation to its startling conclusion.
A luminous force-of-nature whose magic is only felt once he’s gone, Leonard Pelkey becomes the unexpected inspiration for a town as they question how we live, who we love and what we leave behind. While we never meet Leonard, his presence is felt throughout the show by a pair of rainbow-heeled Converse high tops fashioned from flip-flops and sitting on a nearby table.
Stage Director Nathan Cummings commented, “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey embraces the spirit and power of a single performer on stage telling an extremely heartfelt, captivating, funny and dramatic story of how we all are better off when we connect with each other and celebrate our differences. This play reminds us that we still have a long way to go when it comes to acceptance but more importantly, it celebrates a character, like Leonard, who’s absolute brightness brings us closer together and reminds us you can never be too much yourself.”
Lecesne’s play was first produced off-Broadway in 2015 at New York’s Westside Theater and starred the playwright. The reviews were unanimous in their praise for Pelkey including The New York Times’ then-theater critic Christopher Isherwood, who wrote “A show about a brutal murder of a 14-year-old boy should not, logically speaking, leave you beaming with joy, and yet that’s the paradoxical effect of this superlative solo show.” Of his performance, the Times ranked Lecesne “among the most talented solo performers of his (or any) generation.” Rave reviews followed the play’s presentations at leading theaters across the country in San Diego, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston:
“A Whodunnit with a Heart of Gold!” – The New Yorker
“Life-Changing Entertainment! – Forbes
“A Crowd Pleaser Loaded with Laughs! – Huff Post
Lecesne, a distinguished and award-winning playwright, author and LGBTQ rights advocate, won the 1995 Academy Award for his groundbreaking short film Trevor, about a 13-year-old Diana Ross superfan who survives an attempted suicide. As a result of this film, Lecesne co-founded the nationwide Trevor Project, an ongoing and critically vital 24-hour crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth. In 2011, Lecesne was the Grand Marshall of the San Francisco Pride Parade.
Sonoma County actor Michael (Mike) Pavone has written, produced, directed and acted in numerous television series and feature films. He created and executive produced critically acclaimed shows such as Against the Grain (NBC), and High Incident with Steven Spielberg (ABC). He’s been an Executive Producer/Show runner on ten television series’ including Jack & Jill (WB), Street Time (Showtime), Side Order of Life (Lifetime) and The Client (CBS), and Prison Break (FOX).
Pavone has also gained acclaim as a feature film screenwriter, producer and director. Some of his projects include writing The Blue Wall (Disney), Seven Men from Now for Beacon Films, and Northmen for Warner Bros. Pavone wrote, produced and directed, “That’s What I Am”, starring Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and Chase Ellison. The film was selected as the “Fan Favorite” of the 2011 Santa Barbara Film Festival and garnered rave reviews nationwide. Scenes from the film were incorporated into an interactive program on anti-bullying by the National Education Association. Pavone’s latest film, which he also wrote, produced and directed is titled, “The Reunion,” starred Amy Smart, John Cena, and Ethan Embry. As an actor, Pavone was a semi-regular on two critically acclaimed television series, “Any Day Now”, starring Annie Potts and Lorraine Toussaint for the Lifetime Network and “Saving Grace”, starring Holly Hunter on TNT.
In addition to Pavone and Cummings, the Pelkey creative team includes Wayne Hovey, Production Manager/Lighting Designer; Joe Elwick, Set Designer; Ross Tiffany Brown, Stage Manager; Donnie Frank, Costumes; and Justin Warren, Videography/Editing.
Tickets are priced at $25 per household and are now on sale for all virtual performances beginning Friday, January 22 at 7 p.m., continuing through Sunday, January 31 on-demand. To order, visit www.cinnabartheater.org or call (707) 763-8920.