Leon performed in New York twice before flying back to Chicago in time for the touring company’s first show on April 22. He shares his role with another boy, and each performs four times a week. Adult cast members perform in all eight weekly shows, including two each on Wednesday and Saturday, with an off day on Monday.
Leon’s family has made trips to Chicago to see him perform, and his mother is filled with pride each time she sees her youngest child on stage. “I think I’ve stopped crying now,” she said. “But the first couple of shows … I still do get a little emotional.”
Leon went on a Chicago talk show, “Windy City Live,” earlier this month to perform a medley of hits sung by Jackson while he was a member of the Jackson 5. Sabrina said that was a surreal moment for her.
Greg Gordon, Leon’s Exploring Music teacher at BMS, said that Leon is extremely talented, and he wasn’t surprised when he heard he was cast in “Motown.” “No kid is more deserving, because of how humble he is,” Gordon said. “I knew he’d be an instant star. His future is bright. I told him to save me a seat at the Grammys one day.” Leon is also a member of the BMS chorus, and his singing talent is widely known.
BMS Principal Timothy Maher planned to fly to Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend to watch his star sixth-grader perform. “I’m just so excited to see someone who gets so much joy out of doing this,” Maher said. “I can’t wait to see him perform on such a stage.”
Sabrina has taken a leave of absence from her job as a field administrator for a construction company, and said that her family, and especially her son, are reveling in his new-found success.
The Chicago portion of the tour ends in early August and will then travel the country through 2015. Its next three stops are San Francisco, Cleveland and Detroit.
“We’re just going to enjoy this ride,” Sabrina said.