The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey

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July 18
through July 24

7/23 - 5pm Only
Two tickets for July 23 • Reception • Listing in program journal

7/23 - 5pm Only
Four tickets for July 23 • Reception • Listing in program journal

70 Minutes. 9 Characters. 1 Actor.
An extraordinary tour-de-force.



Special Benefit Night:

  • Saturday, July 23 partial proceeds go to


Tickets Available Now for July 23!


Side Seating          $65     1 ticket 

Center Sections     $85     1 ticket
(Row D - H)

                              $100   1 ticket + reception (Under 40 years old)

                              $150   1 ticket + reception (Over 40 years old)

Silver Donor           $500     2 tickets + reception

                         Listing in the Program Journal (Deadline: July 1st)

                         Listing on email invitation & website​

Gold Donor             $1000  4 tickets + reception

                         Listing in the Program Journal (Deadline: July 1st)

                         Listing on email invitation & website


*Reception Tickets are subject to availability. 


About Live Out Loud

Live Out Loud guides and empowers LGBTQ teens to live authentic lives.
Every week, we're OUT in high schools and the community bringing together students and role models. 
Together, we create valued connections.

To learn more about our student programs, please go to:


The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey is written and performed by James Lecesne, music by Duncan Sheik, directed by Tony Speciale, and is produced by special arrangement with Darren Bagert and Daryl Roth. One of the greatest storytellers of his generation, James Lecesne (the writer of the Academy Award-Winning film Trevor), portrays every character in a small Jersey shore town as they unravel the story of Leonard Pelkey, a tenaciously optimistic and flamboyant 14 year old boy. A luminous force of nature whose magic is only truly felt once he is missing, Leonard becomes the unexpected inspiration for a town as they question how they live, who they love and what they leave behind.

There will a special benefit on Saturday, July 23 and partial proceeds will benefit Live Out Loud! Live Out Loud inspires, nurtures and empowers LGBTQ youth to build a successful future by connecting them to positive role models and affirmative experiences in the LGBTQ community.


Press Quotes:

“Bravo! A tale that shimmers with needling suspense. James Lecesne’s multihued performance glows with such humanity (and robust humor) that you may find yourself choking back a tear or two. James Lecesne is a dazzling beacon of theatrical talent." – The New York Times


“’The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey’ is an affecting and entertaining testament to the beauty of a world in which difference is celebrated rather than denigrated.” – Los Angeles Times

“ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS is a timeless lesson about how we live, and what we leave behind.” – Daily News

“Lecesne's performance and POWERFUL story not to be missed, and shines a light on the consequence of fear and the effect one being can have on an entire community. It's truly a BEAUTIFUL piece of theatre.” – Broadway World



JAMES LECESNE (Playwright/ Performer) wrote the screenplay for the short film Trevor, which won an Academy Award and inspired the founding of The Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention and crisis intervention Lifeline for LGBT and Questioning youth. He has created several solo shows including Word of Mouth, which was presented by Mike Nichols and Elaine May and directed by Eve Ensler (NY Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award) and the acclaimed One Man Band. NY Theater credits include Gore Vidal's The Best Man, The Boys in The Band and Cloud 9. Television credits: Armistead Maupin's Further Tales of The City (Emmy nomination), Will & Grace, Sex & The City, and Vicious. He has written three novels, including Absolute Brightness, and he was the executive producer of the documentary film, After The Storm, which follows the lives of twelve young people living in post Katrina New Orleans. James was awarded the 2015 United Solo Award for his work in The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.


TONY SPECIALE (Director) is the new Artistic Director of Abingdon Theatre Company in New York City. He is also the founder of Plastic Theatre-conceiving, co-authoring and directing the world premiere of Unnatural Acts (Classic Stage Company; Drama Desk Award nominee, GLAAD Media Award nominee). NYC: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Dixon Place/Westside Theatre); A Midsummer Night's Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac (Classic Stage Company); Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson); and Remembering Mr. Maugham (Clurman Theatre).  Regional: Barry Manilow's Harmony (Alliance Theatre/ CTG's Ahmanson Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Tony served four seasons as Associate Artistic Director at Classic Stage Company, studied musical theatre at The Boston Conservatory and holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Columbia University. He is also the proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium and a Suzi Bass Award.


DUNCAN SHEIK (Original Music). Selected theatre credits: Spring Awakening (2007; eight Tony Awards and Grammy Award), American Psycho (2016 Broadway debut), Because of Winn Dixie (Delaware Theatre Company, 2015), Whisper House (Old Globe Theatre, 2011), Alice by Heart (National Theatre London, 2012). Works currently in development include Noir, Nero, The Nightingale. Recorded works: Legerdemain (fall 2015), Covers 80s (2011), Whisper House (2009), White Limousine (2006), Daylight (2002), Phantom Moon (2001), Humming (1998), Duncan Sheik (Grammy nomination, 1996).


DARREN BAGERT (Producer) is a multiple-award-winning producer including the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics' Circle, Drama League, Obie and Lucille Lortel. Current Broadway productions include the Tony Award-winning show An American in Paris, The Color Purple starring Jennifer Hudson, Cynthia Erivo, and Danielle Brooks, and Eugene O'Neill's HUGHIE starring Forest Whitaker and Frank Wood, directed by Michael Grandage. Recent Broadway productions include: Side Show directed by Bill Condon, Of Mice and Men (Tony Award nominee), The Glass Menagerie (Tony Award nominee), Gore Vidal's The Best Man (Tony Award nominations both productions, 2012 & 2000), Company (Tony Award winner), Sweeney Todd (Tony Award nominee), Frozen (Tony Award nominee), Long Day's Journey Into Night (Tony Award winner) among others. His Off-Broadway credits include such long-running plays as Buyer & Cellar and My Name Is Asher Lev. Darren hopes everyone embraces the ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS found in everyone around us. Dedicated to Martin Massman.


DARYL ROTH (Producer) holds the singular distinction of producing seven Pulitzer Prize-winning plays: Anna in the Tropics; August: Osage County (2008 Tony); Clybourne Park (2012 Tony); How I Learned to Drive; Proof (2001 Tony); Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women; and Wit. The proud recipient of eight Tony Awards and London’s Olivier Award, her over 90 award winning productions include:  Kinky Boots (2013 Tony, 2016 Olivier); Absolute Brightness; Buyer & Cellar; Caroline, or Change; Curtains; A Delicate Balance; The Goat or Who is Sylvia (2002 Tony); It Shoulda Been You; Love, Loss, and What I Wore; The Normal Heart (2011 Tony); Sylvia; The Tale of the Allergist's Wife; A View from the Bridge; War Horse (2011 Tony); Wiesenthal; The Year of Magical Thinking; and You Can’t Take It With You. Spring 2016: The Crucible and Shuffle Along.

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