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Michael Lessac

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Michael Lessac
Born 1940
Occupation Director, screenwriter

Michael Lessac (born in 1940) is a theatre, television, and film director and screenwriter. Lessac is also the Artistic Director of Colonnades Theatre Lab, Inc and of Colonnades Theatre Lab, South Africa. He is the Project Creator & Director of the international theatre piece, Truth in Translation.

Career

Lessac started his career in theatre after having received a Ph.D. in developmental and perceptual psychology, and was given a two year Ford Foundation Grant to work at the National Theatres of England, Italy, France, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. He also developed his interest in music and was signed to Columbia Records in 1968 to record an album, Sleep Faster, We Need the Pillow, produced by John Hammond.

Over a period of ten years (1974–1984), as founder and artistic director of the Colonnades Theatre Lab in New York City, Lessac produced and directed over thirty productions and maintained and trained a company of eighteen actors, three playwrights, four composers, and a lighting, sound, set design/construction team. The theatre received numerous awards for its work over this period, most notably for its premiere productions of international theatre including original adaptations of the novels of Bulgakov (Molière in Spite of Himself) and Frank O’Connor ("Guests of the Nation" later seen on public television in the US). The Colonnades production of Shakespeare’s Cabaret, transferred to Broadway where it was nominated for several musical Tony Awards.

The New York Times called The Colonnades the "Wave of Repertory Future" (Clive Barnes), "A Magnificent, Magical and Powerful Theatre Experience – All the Elements perfect in every detail" (Richard Eder) and the Daily News (Doug Watts), "Small Miracle on Lafayette street.” The theatre itself was hailed as "the most elegant little theatre in New York City.” Its free space allowed for the development of an unusual flowing cinematic style, which became the hallmark of the company's work and for which it received Drama Desk and new Drama Forum awards. The Colonnades was also an official Ford Foundation “challenge grant” theatre; an annual recipient of grant awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council on the Arts; the Axe-Houghton Foundation; the Xerox Corporation and many other sponsorships and philanthropies. Interspersed with his work at the Colonnades, Lessac directed at the National Theatre of Yugoslavia (Dubrovnik, Zagreb); The Guthrie Theatre in M.N.; The Denver Theatre Center; The Arena Stage and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and The Public Theater in New York City.

Lessac then wrote and directed House of Cards starring Tommy Lee Jones and Kathleen Turner, which was produced by A&M and Penta Films, distributed by Miramax (1993). He has directed over 200 television shows and sixteen pilots including Taxi, Newhart, Grace Under Fire, The Drew Carey Show, The Naked Truth, Just Shoot Me, Everyone Loves Raymond, George & Leo, Titus, and Lucky among others. He also directed Kathleen Turner in the one-woman show Tallulah, based on the life of Tallulah Bankhead and has spent six years researching and developing the Truth in Translation Project.

External links

  • Internet Broadway Database
  • Internet Movie Database
  • AllRovi

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