The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, by James Lecesne

StageWorks Staged Reading March 1, 2022 at 7:30 pm at Acting Ensemble’s new home, ENSEMBLE ON THE AVENUE, 602 E. Mishawaka Ave., Mishawaka.

Directed by Melissa Gard, featuring Emily Clarkson, Lux Comer, Bex Miller, Russell Pluta, and Judy Spigle.

From the writer of the Academy Award-winning film “Trevor” comes The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, a story told from the point of view of the members of a New Jersey town and the detective who unravels the mystery of Leonard Pelkey, a tenaciously optimistic and flamboyant fourteen-year-old boy who goes missing. A luminous force of nature whose magic is only truly felt once he is gone, Leonard becomes an unexpected inspiration as the town’s citizens question how they live, who they love, and what they leave behind.

JAMES LECESNE 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. Broadway: The Best Man. Off-Broadway: Word of Mouth, presented by Mike Nichols and Elaine May (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award); The Boys in the BandMotherhood Out LoudOne Man Band; and Cloud 9. Television: “Armistead Maupin’s Further Tales of the City” (Emmy nomination), “Will & Grace” and the ITVS series “Vicious” starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. James has written three novels for young adults, including Absolute Brightness, and he was executive producer of the documentary film After the Storm, which follows the lives of 12 young people living in post-Katrina New Orleans. He would like to thank Dixon Place, Naked Angels, The Afterglow Festival and 20 Summers for helping to bring Leonard Pelkey to life.

“…leave[s] you beaming with joy…Mr. Lecesne is a writer of wit and keen observational skills, who here unfolds a dark tale that shimmers with the needling suspense you associate with the best police procedurals…Perhaps most remarkably, he’s the rare artist who doesn’t shy away from sentimentality…you may find yourself choking back a tear or two…” —NY Times.

 “…moving…[Lecesne] delivers a message of acceptance without being preachy. Intimate and affectionate, ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS is about the difference one person can make—and perhaps, with any luck, one show.” —NY Post.

…shines with humanity…an affecting and entertaining testament to the beauty of a world in which difference is celebrated rather than denigrated.” —LA Times.

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