Thursday, April 6, 2017


                                          JAMES LECESNE
Bullying is behavior that is unacceptable and targets people, especially children, who are different.  They are different because of their size, religion, race, sexual orientation, ability or appearance.  Just because you wear glasses or suffer from acne, you can be singled out as the subject of abuse and that abuse can be verbal, physical, emotional or internet related.

Writer, actor, activist, playwright and storyteller James Lecesne has devoted much of his adult life to tackling issues such as bullying with his books, films and one man stage performances.  He cares deeply about making a difference and focusing attention on issues that need to be explored and improved.  Right now you can see his remarkable solo performance at the Hartford Stage until Sunday, April 23 in his show, based on his young adult novel written in 2008, “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.”

Lecesne brings his extraordinary talents as a storyteller with a mission:  to introduce and make you care what has happened to a fourteen year old gay teenager Leonard who has mysteriously disappeared.  From the moment New Jersey shore detective Chuck DeSantis learns from Leonard’s wannabe aunt Ellen and her teen daughter Phoebe that his is missing, the hunt for clues is on.  Lecesne portrays all the friends, neighbors, teachers and suspects who in their own unique way offer perspectives on Leonard’s rainbow hued personality.

For Lecesne, much of the narrative is personal, as he experienced sticks and boot kicks for his own sexual orientation and the comments that he would never amount to anything.  He has proven his detractors wrong.  The result of a short film “Trevor” led to an Oscar and the creation of The Trevor Project, the first suicide prevention and crisis program for gay youth, free and open 24/7, in this country.

Come under Lecesne’s  intoxicating spell as he portrays all the characters in Leonard’s life, and help the detective solve this mystery.  Even though Leonard is the victim of a hate crime, the community learns about his “absolute brightness” and how this young man brought it into their lives.  A great deal of humor and humanity characterize the tale, sensitively directed by Tony Speciale, with original music by Duncan Sheik and animation and photography  by Matthew Sandager.

For tickets ($25 and up), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at  Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.,  Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.  His novel is for sale ($9.99) in the gift shop.

Come hear James Lecesne encourage the beauty of diversity and the ways to embrace it to make our lives richer and more colorfully joyous.

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