Youth Impact Report 2010: Up Next

Triple threat Leon Thomas III was 9 when a family friend observed how much he looked like Simba in the “The Lion King” and convinced Thomas’ parents to bring him to the Broadway audition. Thomas snagged the role of Young Simba (shared by three junior actors), followed by additional Broadway work in “The Color Purple” and “Caroline, or Change.”

The son of musician parents, Thomas, now 17, feels he discovered his central calling when he learned basic guitar to audition for “August Rush.” He landed a significant part in the film and began writing and performing his own songs on his own time.

That skill comes in handy in his current gig, co-starring on Dan Schneider’s new Nickelodeon series “Victorious,” about a group of friends in a performing arts school. A song penned by Thomas, “Song2You,” will be featured on an upcoming episode.

Over the last year, Thomas has written and recorded music with Grammy-winning producer Toby Gad, singer-songwriters Claude Kelly and James Bourne and others.

“Leon is one of those rare, multitalented performers I come across only once in a blue moon,” says Schnei-der. “He’s a terrific actor, has great comedic timing, an amazing singing voice, and he’s a gifted musician.”

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