More on the speakers:
Kenny Leon is a Tony Award-winning Broadway and television director. Most recently, he directed the Broadway premiere of Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece, A Soldier's Play starring Blair Underwood and David Alan Grier at Roundabout Theatre Company. He also directed this past summer’s acclaimed production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Delacorte/Shakespeare in the Park. His Broadway credits include the recent production of A Soldier's Play, American Son starring Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale which was also adapted for Netflix, the revival of Children of a Lesser God, the Tupac musical Holler If Ya Hear Me, A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington (Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play and Best Revival of a Play), The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, Stick Fly produced by Alicia Keys, August Wilson’s Fences (which garnered ten Tony nominations and won three Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Play), Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf, as well as A Raisin in the Sun starring Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Phylicia Rashad, and Audra McDonald. He also directed Smart People and The Underlying Chris for Second Stage. Leon’s television work includes “Hairspray Live!”, and “The Wiz Live!” on NBC. He recently released his memoir Take You Wherever You Go. He is the recipient of the 2016 Mr. Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing and the 2010 Award for Excellence in Directing from the Drama League. Mr. Leon serves on the board of New York's Public Theater and is Artistic Director Emeritus of Atlanta's Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company.
Prior to co-founding True Colors Theatre Company, he served 11 years as Artistic Director of The Alliance Theatre, where he produced the premieres of Disney's Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky and Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Other directorial credits include Alicia Keys World Tour, Toni Morrison's opera Margaret Garner, the world premiere of Flashdance The Musical, and the complete August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center. Leon is a sought after motivational speaker that has done acting and theatre workshops at universities and corporate offices around the country, South Africa and Ireland. He has directed in the UK, and extensively throughout the US, including Chicago's Goodman Theatre, Boston's Huntington Theatre, Baltimore's Center Stage, Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group and New York's Public Theatre. Leon is a graduate of Clark Atlanta and is an honorary Ph.D. recipient of Clark Atlanta and Roosevelt Universities and has served as the Denzel Washington Chair at Fordham University.
Christopher Wolfe SOA’18 is the inaugural Artist-in-Residence at the Eric H. Holder Jr. Initiative for Civil and Political Rights. Chris graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point) in 2000 and served as a Field Artillery officer in the U.S. Army for six years. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in a combat zone. After completing military service, Chris earned his MBA with a concentration in Investment Finance from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and worked on Wall Street as an investment banker during the height of the financial crisis. After five years on Wall Street, Chris earned his MFA from Columbia University in creative writing as a fiction concentrator. At Columbia, he was an instructor for The Columbia Veterans Creative Writing Workshop and was selected for the School of the Arts Teaching Fellowship. Chris currently teaches creative writing at Rikers Island to incarcerated students as a part of Columbia University’s Justice-In-Education Initiative. His writing has been featured in the BOMB Magazine, Guernica, The New York Times Magazine and two anthologies including The Road Ahead: Fiction from the Forever War and The Kiss: Intimacies from Writers.
In addition to serving as the Artist-in-Residence at the Holder Initiative, Chris has been appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Columbia University’s School of the Arts Writing Program.