Take You Wherever You Go: A Memoir

Kenny Leon. Grand Central, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4497-0
Tony Award­–winning director Leon assesses the long journey from his modest Florida upbringing to his professional success, including receiving the best director award for his 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Leon was born in Tallahassee in 1956 and raised by his grandmother while his mother worked in St. Petersburg. Among the women who influenced him were his Grandma Mamie, who had a “simple, direct, endearing” approach to life, and Annie Ruth, his conservative Christian mother who gave him a moral compass. Leon graduated from Clark Atlanta University, then attended Southwest University School of Law in L.A., “starting and stopping” his education and doing undercover security work (“snitching on people at various job sites”); he returned to Atlanta jobless, but began focusing on theater. Leon glows when speaking of his time at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater, even if his tenure began by receiving a letter that read, “When we come to the theater, we come to support our own kind. Not some pushy, uppity coon.” Throughout, Leon celebrates the many actors and directors he worked with or admired, including Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson (who contributed the book’s foreword), and his idol, playwright August Wilson, whose Fences he directed on Broadway. Leon delivers revealing personal stories of theatrical success in this uplifting memoir. Agent: Cait Hoyt, Creative Artists Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 06/05/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-5387-4498-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-4375-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-4372-4
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