Written by | Ray Cornelius

Tony winning-director Kenny Leon hosted his annual Celebrity Gala on Saturday evening in Atlanta, GA. The star-studded event raises funds for Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and its educational programs including the National August Wilson Monologue Competition for high school students. The program offers students from low-income neighborhoods, where arts programs are minimal to non-existent due to budget constraints, the opportunity to study theater. Competition finalists also get a chance to travel to New York City to see a Broadway show and meet the actors after the show.

group photo

 Actors Tory Kittles, Edwina Findley and Eltony Williams with the cast members from Bessie

The Celebrity Gala took place at the Millennium Gate Museum at Atlantic Station and was attended by a number of Leon’s famous friends including acclaimed dancer, actress and director, Debbie Allen;  actress and singer, Jasmine Guy; basketball legend, Julius “Dr. J” Erving; HGTV personality, Egypt Sherrod; CNN’s Holly Firfer; media personality, Tavis Smiley; Broadway actress and singer, Jennifer Holliday; media personality, Gary With Tha Tea; American Idol contestant, Ashton Jones; actor and Bessie star, Tory Kittles; television and film actor, Leon; television and Broadway actor, Dule Hill; OWN actress, Edwina Findley; OWN actor, Eltony Williams; veteran television and stage actor, Glynn Turman; television and film actor,  Mykelti Williamson; super music producer and artist, Teddy Riley; Being Mary Jane’s Richard Brooks; veteran stage and television actor, Bill Nunn and more.

group 2

 Leon with celebrity friends Teddy Riley, Glynn Turman and Jennifer Holliday and monologue students

The event also included a dinner buffet featuring southern cuisine, complimentary cocktails, live entertainment and an opportunity to rub elbows with Leon’s famous friends. This was my first time attending and I must say that it was an awesome experience and a “must” for next year!  Congrats Kenny!

Check out more photos below:

Tavis and Jennifer Holliday

 Tavis Smiley with Jennifer Holliday

Leon and friend 90

Leon and guest

Kathleen and Myra J

BronzeLens Film Festival’s Kathleen Bertrand and media personality Myra J

Monologue finalists

Competition finalists who will be traveling to NYC for Broadway show

Glynn Turman

A Different World alum Glynn Turman

Ashton Jones and Teddy Riley

 Singers Ashton Jones and Teddy Riley

Richard Brooks

Being Mary Jane star  Richard Brooks

Kellie Cheesecake

 Kelli Fair of KheeseKakes by Kelli

Bill Nunn 23

Do the Right Thing actor Bill Nunn and his daughter

Debbie and Jeremiah

 The one and only…Debbie Allen with Jeremiah Griffin

Bubba Gump

 Mykelti Williamson aka Bubba Gump

Dule Hill with a fan

Actor and Broadway star Dule Hill posing with a fan

Gary and Jennifer dancing

 Gary With Tha Tea jamming on the dance floor with Jennifer Holliday

Edwina and Torry Kittles

Actors Edwina Findley and Tory Kittles

Tavis, Egypt, DJ Fadelf, Charmaine and Co-host

 Tavis Smiley, Holly Firfer, DJ Fadelf, Egypt Sherrod and Charmaine Ward 

Photo Credits: Ray Cornelius