Leon to direct Broadway production
Lydia R. Diamond’s play “Stick Fly” will land on Broadway this fall with Alicia Keys on board as a presenting producer.Kenny Leon, who also has the Samuel L. Jackson-Angela Bassett topliner “The Mountaintop” on his fall calendar, will helm. Casting for “Stick Fly” has not yet been set, but producers seem likely to aim for big-name talent. Reuben Cannon, who produces “Stick Fly” in partnership with Nelle Nugent, is a longtime casting director whose bigscreen credits include a string of Tyler Perry films.Leon has worked on Broadway with star thesps in the past, with a resume that includes the Denzel Washington-Viola Davis starrer “Fences” in 2010 and the 2004 revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” that toplined Sean Combs, Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad. Leon previously directed Keys’ “As I Am” world tour. The Grammy winner becomes the latest music celeb to sign on to a legit show as a presenting producer, following Jay-Z’s attachment to “Fela!” and Elton John’s association with “Next Fall.” (The involvement of such high-profile producers doesn’t guarantee hit status, however; neither “Fela!” nor “Fall” managed to recoup capitalization costs.) Diamond’s play already has made a splash in regional markets with runs at nonprofits including a 2006 bow at Chicago’s Congo Square Theater Company and a 2010 co-production, also helmed by Leon, from Boston’s Huntington Theater and D.C.’s Arena Stage. Storyline follows the gathering of a wealthy African-American family for a summer weekend in Martha’s Vineyard. Diamond (“The Bluest Eye”) makes her Main Stem debut with the production. “Stick Fly” has booked the Lyceum Theater for a run that begins previews Nov. 18 ahead of a Dec. 8 opening.