“Deep at the center of my being there is an infinite well of gratitude. I now allow this gratitude to fill my heart, my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being. This gratitude radiates out from me in all directions, touching everything in my world, and returns to me as more to be grateful for. The more gratitude I feel, the more I am aware that the supply is endless.”
- Louise L. Hay

“Love is stronger than differences. We all live on the same planet. We walk on the same earth. We breathe the same air. No matter where I was born, no matter what color skin I have or what religion I was raised to believe in, everything and everyone is connected to this one life. I no longer choose to prejudge others, to feel either superior or inferior. I choose equality – to have warm, loving, open communication with every member of my Earthly family. I am a member of the earth community.”
- Louise L. Hay

“Enlightenment is always there. Small enlightenment will bring great enlightenment. If you breathe in and are aware that you are alive – that you can touch the miracle of being alive – then that is a kind of enlightenment.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh

“We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh


Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

Black Theatre United

Mabou Mines

Theater J

Pangea World Theater

Round House Theatre

Bucks County Playhouse

Charleston Stage

Maryland Ensemble Theatre

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

PURE Theatre Company

Ronald Rand’s “CREATE! How Extraordinary People Live to Create and Create to Live”

Virginia Stage Company

Constellation Theatre Company

League of Professional Theatre Women

Maryland Hall

BlackRock Center for the Arts

Great American Songbook Foundation & Academy

Kennedy Center REACH

Inter Act Art Theatre

“Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch” – Edwardian Period Style Salon


Ronald Rand in Let It Be Art










“The key to the mystery of a great artist is that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another... and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.”
– Leonard Bernstein

“In the long history of man, countless empires and nations have come and gone. Those which created no lasting works of art are reduced today to short footnotes in history's catalog. Art is a nation's most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a Nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”
– President Lyndon B. Johnson

“If you take the trouble to really listen (to the music) with your soul and with your ears - and I say soul and ears because the mind must work, but not too much also - you will find every gesture there. And it is all true, you know.”
– Maria Callas

“An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.”
– Langston Hughes

“Each of us have a gift given us freely by the universe. And each of us with every breath gives something back.”
– Kim Stanley

“We all bear within us the potentiality for every kind of passion, every fate, every way of life. Nothing human is alien to us. If this were not so, we could not understand other people, either in life or in art.”
– Max Reinhardt

“All kinds of art serve to the greatest of the arts - the art of living on earth.”
– Bertolt Brecht

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
– James Madison

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
– Martha Graham



Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

Kenny Leon and Jamil Jude, Artistic Director at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Ovation Awards 2018 (photo: Steve-Eberhardt)

Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company, now in their 18th season on August 1, is based in Atlanta Georgia, reflecting a promise to search for truth and clarity, has produced more than fifty-five plays, including seven world premieres. Through their productions, it is their goal to celebrate the rich tradition of Black storytelling, while giving voice to bold artists of all cultures.

In 2002, Artistic director Kenny Leon, Artistic Director, and the late Managing Director Jane Bishop teamed up to design a new theater – True Colors Theatre Company – envisioning an inclusive theater company that would achieve both local and national impact. Their intention was that it would become an important voice in the American discussion of diversity, supporting and promoting individuals and institutions in their quest for greater understanding.

“East Texas Hot Links,” a powerful play written and directed by Eugene Lee, presented by Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

Leon is a Tony-winning director who will be represented on Broadway next season with Christopher Demos-Brown’s gripping new play, “American Son” with Kerry Washington and Scott Pasquale.

Most recently, Kenny Leon has chosen to step down as the Artistic Director, and Jamil Jude has taken the helm as the company’s new Artistic Director for the 2019-20 season. Leon has become the Artistic Director Emeritus, and continues working with True Colors Theatre Company, including on the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition.  

Leon shared his feelings about this momentous moment by saying: “It’s time to engage a younger generation with fresh artistic leadership. Since first meeting Jamil, I knew he was the right person to carry the torch for True Colors Theatre Company. Jamil is an inspiring artist and an empowering community leader who has the full support of our great board of directors. True Colors will continue to thrive locally under his leadership as a place where everyone’s story is told.”

Jude has directed regionally at Olney Theatre in Maryland, Curious Theatre in Denver, and Park Square Theatre in Minneapolis. He is the co-founder of Colored People’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. and The New Griots Festival in Minneapolis, and is a playwright and dramaturg.

Jude in a statement: “Kenny was one of my very first mentors and taught me that having a career in this industry as a man of color was possible. I’m honored that he is entrusting me to carry on his legacy. I’ve never felt so at home as I have in Atlanta and it, in turn, has nurtured my artistic voice and sense of self. There has never been a pasture greener than inside the perimeter for this type of theatre!”

In his first year as Artistic Director at True Colors, Jude chose to curate a season to complement their 18th season, as an important voice in the American discussion of diversity. Before the pandemic struck, True Colors presented “Paradise Blue” by Dominique Morisseau and directed by Jamil Jude, and “Schoolgirls; or, the African Mean Girls Play,” by Jocelyn Bioh, which was directed by Tinashe Kajese-Bolden.

Jocelyn Bioh’s “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” presented by Lenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, directed by Tinashe Kajese-Bolden

It is Jude’s goal to present “52 Weeks of Women,” entitled: “She Griots” – to ‘uplift Black women, as they are among the most historically underrepresented faces in regional theater both on and off stage. It is his desire to celebrate their hopes, sharing their stories and honoring their impact in the community.’

He has said: “[In the West African tradition], a griot is someone who holds our stories and our history and tells it back to us in an authentic way that affirms and challenges us. I’ve been drawn to plays with all black women casts and plays by black women playwrights, and I don’t think they’re getting their just due. By celebrating the ‘She Griots,’ we are tying the history of black storytelling to our contemporary future.”

During "52 Weeks of Women" we will recognize a different “shero” on our website and on social media, sharing their stories and honoring their impact in the community. Those that have been chosen include Nikki Toombs, Maiesha McQueen, Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, Leona Barr Davenport, Dominique Morisseau, Sue Ross, Chandra Stephens-Albright, Dr. L. Nyrobi N. Moss, Doris Derby, Debb Moore, Beatrice Ellzy, Leslye Joy Allen, Ciarra McEachin, Pearl Cleage, Zenith Houston, Vicki Crawford-Ph.D., Deborah Richardson, Soumaya Khalifa, Maryline Blackburn, Marian Liou, Tinashe Kajese-Bolden, Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Na‘Taki Osborne Jelks-Ph.D., Malaika Adero, Stevie Flowers, Ming Chen, Kristen Parker, Brenda Nicole Moorer, Nikia Phoenix, Dr. Catherine Foster Rowell, Lauren Tate Baeza, Karen Duckett-JD-RD, Lateshia Ellerson, Dr. N. Jean Hudley, Kim Bentley-RN-MS-CCRN, Caren Cloud, Charisse Davis, Natalie Keng, Towonda Kilpatrick, September Gray, Lisa L. Watson, Courtney Brooks, La Ronda Barnes, Johnita P. Due, Clarissa Crawford, Heather Infantry, Kim Adams, Danielle Deadwyler, Gabrielle Fultin Ponder, Renee Clark, Monica W. Parker-MD, and Stefaniyemiya Ingram.

The cast of True Colors Theatre Company 2018 production “Nina Simone: Four Women” (Photo: Greg Mooney)

In 2007, Kenny Leon and Todd Kreidler founded The August Wilson Monologue Competition. Leon, co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of True Colors, had worked closely with August Wilson and is one only a handful of directors that have directed all ten of the Century Cycle plays. Kreidler, True Colors’ former Associate Artistic Director, was Dramaturge for Wilson’s last play and Director of his one-man show, “How I Learned What I Learned.”

Leon has said: “August is one of the greatest artists that this country has seen. He has made the most significant contributions by writing ten amazing plays about Africans in America. To have been one of the many people that have been blessed by August Wilson is profound for me.”

Both Leon and Kreiedler have intimate knowledge of August Wilson as an artist and as a person. In Kreidler’s words, “The goal of the competition is to help garner partnerships with communities, schools and theaters across the United States, and to create educational materials about August Wilson that allow students, of all races, to connect these important theatre works with educational curricula like history, social studies and literature.”

True Colors launched the competition in one school in Atlanta, and it has since expanded to theatre companies in fourteen cities around the country – Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Los Angeles, New Haven, New York City, Norfolk, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), San Diego and Seattle.

The 13th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition Atlanta Regionals took place on March 6th, 2020 at The Carlyle event space in Atlanta. Sixteen finalists – fourteen from metro Atlanta and two from Birmingham, Alabama – performed monologues from August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.”

National August Wilson Monologue Competition Finals

The competition was adjudicated by Eric Ayala, award-winning screenwriter; Ray Cornelius, radio personality from WCLK 91.9 FM; Christopher Hampton, company member and instructor at Whole World Improv Theatre; Helen Hampton, Director of Global Talent Management at Delta Air Lines, and NL Starr, whose proudest stage accomplishment is producing and performing in all ten of the plays from the American Century Cycle.

Nikki Toombs, Director of Education at True Colors Theatre, co-hosted the event with actor, director and producer Terri J. Vaughn, who appeared as Lovita Alize Jenkins on “The Steve Harvey Show.” This year’s competition started in October 2019 with 338 participants.

Out of the sixteen finalists, Julius Shanks, pictured in the center of the photo, won first place with his depiction of Toledo from "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom." Taylor Jackson, to the left in the photo, won second place with the powerful words of Berniece from "The Piano Lesson." Casey Champion from New Manchester High School, on the right in the photo, won 3rd place with her heartrending Ruby from "King Hedley II."

Finalists in the National August Wilson Monologue Competition: Julius Shanks, Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, AL, Class of 2021, received 1st Place;” Taylor Jackson, Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, AL, Class of 2021 received 2nd Place; and Casey Champion, New Manchester High School, Class of 2020.

True Colors Theatre Company’s Education Department strives to be a premier organization that adds theatre into the daily educational lives of students, by promoting respectful dialogue among cultures and fostering an appreciation for diverse viewpoints. They achieve this vision by educating students using a standards-based arts integrated curriculum that preserves both the rich canon of African American classics and world drama through pedagogy, partnerships, and performances. True Colors Theatre company also introduces offers elementary school page to the stage program.

Every Thursday, online, Artistic Director Jamil Jude will deliver  new content featuring artist interviews, master classes, and live Q&A sessions. For info: True Colors Theater Company office: 887 W. Marietta St. Atlanta, GA 30318, (404) 532-1901, Theater location: Southwest Arts Center 915 New Hope Rd., Atlanta, Ga.,  (404) 613-3220, (888) 479-6300,,

“Paradise Blue” at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

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