“I look for complex people in dark relationships and situations when choosing material to direct. I thrive on exploring characters and plumbing the depths of their soul to find their humor. Laughter opens the door for audience’s to recognize, experience, and share the universality of the human condition. Whether the story is told in words, dance, music, or songs I strive to entertain, educate, and enlighten.”
New plays or old, musicals or cabaret, at home or abroad, Peters’ career has been distinguished by a celebrated theatrical intelligence:
Peters has worked as a director in New York, at the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) and at most of the major regional theatres across the United States. He has worked and taught at Sarah Lawrence College and the American University in Paris.
He co-wrote and directed the award-winning Babalu-cy! – The Art of Desi Arnaz at the Metropolitan Room (Winner of the Backstage Bistro Award 2008/Best Theme Show).
At the Folger Theatre Group, he directed John O’Keefe’s 18th-century comedy, Wild Oats.
Peters directed the Hartman Theatre pre-Broadway production of Stem of a Briar in Stamford, Connecticut with John McMartin, Michael Learned, and Dennis Boutsikaris as well as its premiere at the Kenyon Festival Theatre in Gambier, Ohio with John McMartin, Lois Nettleton, Robert Joy, and Craig Wasson.
He has made a point of directing new plays, which include Alice Childress and Nathan Woodard’s Sea Island Song, Milan Stitt’s Back in the Race. Ron Whyte’s Funeral March for a One-Man Band, Susan Dworkin’s Deli’s Fable and The Public Good, Barbara Field’s Coming of Age, and A.R. Gurney’s Who Killed Richard Cory?
In addition, Peters has directed the New York Premier of D.H. Lawrence’s The Daughter-in-Law” with Elizabeth Franz and John Heard. He directed the acclaimed revival of George Kelly’s Craig’s Wife. Cara Duff-MacCormick in the title role was honored with an Obie Award for Best Actress.
In the worlds of music and dance, he has directed the Narrative Symphony version ofTransfigured Nights (Verklarte Nacht, Op.4) by Arnold Schoenberg, Roger Nierenberg, Conductor of the Stamford Symphony Orchestra at the Stamford Center for the Arts.Collaborating with choreographer Ruby Shang, he created and directed Yellow PunkDolls, with text by David Henry Hwang, performed at the Joyce Theater in New YorkCity.
“…In order to feel the full flavor of this rollicking 18th-century romance (“Wild Oats” by John O’Keefe) one would have to be accompanied by a troupe of actors — either the Royal Shakespeare Company, or the company that Leonard Peters has put together for the current revival of the play at the Folger Theatre Group. Mr. Peters’ version in our nations’ capital is, in a word, capital…a splendiferous comedy!”
– Mel Gussow, New York Times (on “Wild Oats”)
“Leonard Peters’ supple direction is astonishingly good.”
– Carll Tucker, Village Voice (on “The Public Good”)
“A flawless serving of real theatre.”
– Howard Thompson, New York Times (on “Craig’s Wife”)
“Leonard Peters has seamlessly directed a flawless cast.”
– Leah D. Frank, Stamford Advocate (on “Stem of a Briar”)
“It was exceptionally well directed by Leonard Peters. If ever there was a real ensemble effort on display in cabaret, this was it.”
– John Hoglund, After Dark (on “Babalu-cy”)
“Directed and acted with such headlong energy, skill and resourcefulness… Leonard Peters’ razor-sharp staging and the powerful acting sweep all before them.”
– Variety (on “Stem of a Briar”)
“Despite its deficiencies as drama, the evening is likeable and occasionally lilting, which is attributable to Leonard Peters’ production.”
– Mel Gussow, New York Times (on “Who Killed Richard Cory?”)
- Babalu-cy! – The Art of Desi Arnaz (2008)
- Co-Writer with Greg Purnhagen
- Metropolitan Room, New York, NY
- Backstage Bistro Award: Best Theme Show
- Transfigured Night – Verklarte Nacht, Op. 4 (2003)
- A dramatic illustration of the musical composition by Jennifer S. Jones
- Music by Arnold Schoenberg/Stamford Symphony Orchestra
- Roger Nierenberg, Music Director/Conductor
- Stamford Center for the Arts, Stamford, CT
- Yellow Punk Dolls (1991)
- Co-Creator and Collaborator with Ruby Shang
- Choreography Ruby Shang
- Text by David Henry Hwang
- Joyce Theater, New York, NY
- Museum by Tina Howe (1980)
- Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
- Listen to the Lions by John Ford Noonan (1979)
- Unicorn Repertory Company, New York, NY
- Wild Oats by John O’Keeffe (1979)
- Folger Theatre Group, Washington, DC
- Sea Island Song (1977)
- Book by Alice Childress /Music by Nathan Woodard
- State Tour for the South Carolina Arts Commission, Columbia, SC
- Why I Love New York – New York Premiere (1975)
- Book, Music, & Lyrics by Al Carmines
- Judson Poets Theatre, New York, NY
- Craig’s Wife by George Kelly (1974)
- WPA Theatre, New York, NY
- OBIE Award, “Best Performance by an Actressâ€
- The Daughter-in-Law by D.H. Lawrence – New York Premiere (1974)
- WPA Theatre, NewYork, NY
- Fear by Jakov Lind – American Premiere (1973)
- WPA Theatre, New York, NY