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The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey – Invisible Theatre

September 4, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - September 16, 2018 @ 7:30 pm MST

Invisible Theatre kicks off its 48th Anniversary Season with the Arizona premiere of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey at Invisible Theatre on September 4* – 16, 2018 (*Tuesday low cost preview).

Invisible Theatre continues its 48th Anniversary Season with the award winning THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY by James Lecesne and directed by Susan Claassen. David Alexander Johnston portrays every character in a small Jersey Shore town as he unravels the story of Leonard Pelkey, a tenaciously optimistic and flamboyant fourteen-year-old boy who goes missing. A luminous force of nature whose magic is only truly felt once he is gone, Leonard becomes an unexpected inspiration as the town’s citizens question how they live, who they love, and what they leave behind. (In physics, the term “absolute brightness” is defined as the apparent brightness a star would have if it were placed at a standard distance of 10 parsecs, or 32.6 light years, from Earth.) Leonard, though never seen, injects in each character the possibility of spontaneity, change and growth. This production is made possible in part through the generous support of Sandy Maxfield

THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY by James Lecesne will play from September 4 – 16, 2018 with the official press opening on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 7:30 PM. A low cost preview ($20) takes place on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 7:30 PM. The Invisible Theatre is located at 1400 N. First Avenue (at Drachman), Tucson, AZ 85719.

The single show ticket price for THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY is $35. Discounts are available for groups, seniors, active military and students. Rush tickets are available for purchase at half-price one half hour prior to performance time and are subject to availability.

Tickets are available for purchase by calling the Invisible Theatre Box Office at (520) 882-9721 and are also available 24/7 on-line through OvationTix at The running time is 75 minutes with no intermission. THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY is appropriate for mature ages 13 and up.


Following the performance on September 6, 2018, there will be a seminar with a representative from the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation (SAAF), community members the artistic ensemble to discuss the issues of violence in the LBTGQ youth community. A portion of the ticket revenue for this performance will be donated to The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth.


JAMES LECESNE (Playwright) wrote the screenplay for the short film Trevor, which won an Academy Award and inspired the founding of The Trevor Project – the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention and crisis intervention lifeline for LGBT and questioning youth. Broadway: THE BEST MAN. Off-Broadway: WORD OF MOUTH, presented by Mike Nichols and Elaine May (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award); THE BOYS IN THE BAND; MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD; ONE MAN BAND; and CLOUD 9. Television: Armistead Maupin’s Further Tales of the City (Emmy nomination), Will & Grace and the ITVS series Vicious starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. James has written three novels for young adults, including Absolute Brightness, and he was executive producer of the documentary film After the Storm, which follows the lives of 12 young people living in post-Katrina New Orleans. He would like to thank Dixon Place, Naked Angels, The Afterglow Festival and 20 Summers for helping to bring Leonard Pelkey to life.

DAVID ALEXANDER JOHNSTON made his IT debut in IT’s DON’T TALK TO THE ACTORS and then appeared here in LEAVING IOWA, AN EMPTY PLATE IN THE CAFÉ DU GRAND BOEUF, 2 ACROSS, MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD, OLIVE AND THE BITTER HERBS, I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES, LEBENSRAUM, THE VALUE OF NAMES and most recently MR. GOLDBERG’S PRODIGAL SON. He has been seen in ATC’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and MY FAIR LADY. David appeared in AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY and CABARET with Winding Road Theater Ensemble. He then joined the ensemble and appeared in ROUGH MAGIC, UNITED, SAINT JOAN and SOVEREIGN BODY. He proudly played Willy Loman in Winding Road’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN and won a Tucson MAC award for playing Mr. Green in VISITING MR. GREEN at Live Theatre Workshop. David has been seen in multiple other shows since coming to Tucson in 1990. His television and movie credits include Day of Redemption, Spin, The Unflyable Plane for BBC, Fast Getaway II, and Tank Girl as well as regional and national commercials and industrial films.

SUSAN CLAASSEN (Director/Producer/Designer) is kicking off her 44th anniversary with IT. As Managing Artistic Director, she has produced well over 400 productions and directed over 90 including SHEAR MADNESS (MAC award Nominee for comedy director) and most recently BLACK PEARL SINGS! Suz was nominated for the 2011 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award and BroadwayWorld LA Award as Best Actress for her portrayal of Edith Head in A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD ( She was recently seen as Olive in IT’s OLIVE AND THE BITTER HERBS (MAC Award Winner) and last season as Hettie in MR. GOLDBERG’S PRODIGAL SON. Suz was selected as one of Arizona’s “48 Most Intriguing Women”, is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, was a “Notable Person” for Tucson Lifestyle, and has been a clown in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2001. She has been a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association since 1969 and dedicates her work to the living memory of her beloved mother, Goldie.


Written by James Lecesne
Director: Susan Claassen
Cast: David Alexander Johnston

The Arizona Premiere

The Invisible Theatre
1400 N. First Avenue (at Drachman), Tucson, AZ. 85719

Season Ticket Holders will be seated first and then general admission.

Tuesday September 4, 2018 at 7:30 PM (Preview)
Wednesday September 5, 2018 at 7:30 PM (Opening)
Thursday September 6, 2018 at 7:30 PM (Special Seminar)
Friday September 7, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Saturday September 8, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Sunday September 9, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Wednesday September 12, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Thursday September 13, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Friday September 14, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Saturday September 15, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Saturday September 15, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Sunday September 16, 2017 at 3:00 PM

75 minutes with no intermission

Mature ages 13 and up

DIRECTOR: Susan Claassen
SET DESIGN: Susan Claassen and James Blair
SOUND DESIGN: Rob Boone and Susan Claassen
PROP DESIGN: Maryann Trombino
COSTUME DESIGN: Maryann Trombino
STAGE MANAGER: Diana Knoepfle
GRAPHIC & PROGRAM DESIGN: Karen Scott – Great Scott Design, Inc

To charge tickets by phone, call our Box Office at (520) 882-9721.
You may also visit the Box Office in the Invisible Theatre Lobby (1400 N. First Avenue at Drachman).

To buy tickets online 24/7, go to and click on the OvationTix logo.
Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted.

The Invisible Theatre is fully accessible to patrons using wheelchairs or with other mobility challenges. Seating areas to accommodate persons using wheelchairs are located in the theatre. If patrons require special seating they should inform the Box Office at (520) 882-9721.


The Invisible Theatre (IT) of Tucson, a 501(c)(3) organization, is dedicated to producing quality theatre and arts education experiences for all facets of the community in an intimate setting that showcases local professional talent and guest artists. IT takes its name from the invisible energy that flows between a performer and audience, creating the magic of theatre. Started in 1971 as an arena for local playwrights, the theatre has expanded its programs to include adaptations of classics and recent Off-Broadway plays and musicals, while continuing to encourage new playwrights through both full productions and staged readings.

Under the leadership of Managing Artistic Director Susan Claassen, Associate Artistic Director James Blair, and PR Director Cathy Johnson, IT is strongly committed to community service and outreach programs. The company’s current season includes a six play Main Stage season, many special events, a world class cabaret series, organizational collaborations, educational tours, seminars that encourage community dialogue and Project Pastime – an educational theatre program for mentally challenged youth.

The Invisible Theatre, the recipient of the first Arizona Theatre Association Award for Best Producing Theatre Company, is a member of the Theatre Communications Group and has long enjoyed both local and national recognition for its strong leadership role in the arts community. Productions take place in an intimate 80-seat converted laundry building. IT celebrates its 48th season with an even greater commitment to professionalism, artistic excellence, accessibility, freedom of expression, diverse programming and creative challenge – thus making the Invisible Theatre a very visible force in Tucson’s cultural community.


September 4, 2018 @ 7:00 pm
September 16, 2018 @ 7:30 pm
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Invisible Theatre (IT)
1400 N. First Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85719 United States
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(520) 882-9721

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