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An MFA from the University of Iowa, LEON MARTELL co-founded "DUCK'S BREATH MYSTERY THEATER" which has performed on stage across the country, and in series for National Public Radio, PBS, and a children's series for FOX Television. In 1981, on the strength of his solo piece "THE BIG FRITTER," director Robert Woodruff invited him to be part of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and a member of the writing workshop lead by Sam Shepard. He wrote the award winning "HOSS DRAWIN" (published in West Coast Plays, vol. 13). and was invited to the Padua Hills Festival in Los Angeles, where he participated as a writer, actor, and director for thirteen years. His Padua plays include the award winning "KINDLING" and "1961 EL DORADO" co-written with wife Elizabeth Ruscio. His plays "MOONCALF", "FEED THEM DOGS," and "HARD HAT AREA" received Dramalogue and L.A. Weekly Awards. His recent play with music, "STEEL - JOHN HENRY AND THE SHAKER" , written with composer Penka Kouneva, was produced by the Oasis Theater Company and received seven "Ovation Award" nominations, including "Best New Musical" and "Best Musical - Small Venue." His "BEA[U]TIFUL IN THE EXTREME," was a finalist for the national "L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Playwriting" and the Pen West Playwriting Award. After a very successful run at the Colony Theater this past fall it receiving four "Robey" nominations, was sighted as an outstanding play of 2002 in Backstage West. His "THE HISTORY OF FAIRFAX - ACCORDING TO A SANDWICH" was commissioned by the Greenway Court Theater and had a successful run in the fall of 2004.
As an actor he has been happy to work many times with Maria Irene Fornes, both in America and in Italy, and several times with writer-director John Steppling. On film, he's been pleased to work with Alan Rudolph, Jane Anderson, and most recently Julie Hebert.
As a director, his experience is eclectic, often working in new opera with Overtone Industries, directing "Happy Hour Becomes Electra", "It's a Pretty Good Life," and "String of Pearls" in concert at Carnegie Hall. In 2000 he directed the magic extravaganza, "Steve Wyrick - Magic to the Extreme" for the Sahara Casino in Las Vegas.
Since 2006 he has been writing shows for the Toyota Symphonies Concerts and for Youth and the Summer Sounds World Music Festival at the Hollywood Bowl.