"Leo Farley taps into rawness and energy."

-Alexis Greene, InTheater

After almost fifteen years on Wall Street as a stock and commodity futures trader, he gave up his financial security blanket in 1988 to devote more time to his artistic endeavors as both an actor and director. In the spring of 1988, along with four other actors, a rented space, two gallons of black paint, and a lot of dreams and high hopes, they gave birth to 29th Street Rep. Some fifteen years later, the dream continues. Since 1988, he has appeared in over thirty productions as an actor and has directed five. In addition to his extensive work at 29th Street Rep, he has also worked in numerous other venues in NYC, both Off and Off Off Broadway.

Some of his favorite roles at 29th Street were written specifically for him by Playwright-in-Residence, Bill Nave. They include Lee Jim Bobbitt in NECKTIE BREAKFAST (Harold Clurman Theater 1991), Meggars in BIBLE BURLESQUE (with Edward Norton 1994) and perhaps his favorite role John in WITH SPIRIT AND WITH FIRE (1996) for which he received an OOBR (Off-Off Broadway award) for his performance. (Okay, so it wasn't a Tony! but an OOBR is an OOBR is an OOBR ……)

In addition to these roles, he has appeared in the NYC premieres of Tracy Lett's KILLER JOE (1994), Tammy Ryan's PIG (1996) and J.B. Miller's BOBBY SUPREME (1998), all of which were subsequently taped for the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Art's Archives.

In 1990, he was first bitten by the directing bug with his directorial debut in Bruce Spera's THE FIELD (a ten minute two-hander from the Actor's Theatre of Louisville) as part of the 29th Street Rep's annual Summer One-Act Festival. His next chance came in 1993 with Richard Harland Smith's LOS BESOS as part of the offerings in the '93 Summer One-Act Festival .His first full length directing chance came in 1997 with the revival of a play called TRACERS (written by 6 Vietnam Veterans in the early 1980's). TRACERS remains one of his proudest achievements with the company to date, and as a Vietnam Veteran himself, a personal labor of love. TRACERS went on to be named "One of the Ten Best Theater Experiences of 1997" by Alexis Greene of In Theater Magazine. It was on a list that included THE LION KING and HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE which made it a very special honor indeed.

Another crowning achievement came in 2000, when he, along with associate member Jonathan Powers, adapted and directed for the stage, Charles Bukowski's SOUTH OF NO NORTH (Stories of the Buried Life) which were nine short stories extracted from a book of the same name and dramatized into a full length play. After a highly acclaimed showcase in the spring of 2000, SOUTH OF NO NORTH returned to the Rep in the fall of 2000 for a sizzling 75 performance Off Broadway run and ended up breaking all existing box office and attendance records at 29th Street Rep. SOUTH OF NO NORTH was also honored with a videotaping by the Lincoln Center Library of Performing Arts Theater Archives. In November 2002, through a special arrangement with the Consulate General of Sweden here in New York City, he traveled to Sweden where he began working on a possible joint venture with a Swedish theater company (Turteatern) located near Stockholm, to bring Bukowski to Scandinavia for a possible tour. He is also working on bringing Bukowski's SOUTH OF NO NORTH to Bukowski's native Los Angeles for a hopefully long and healthy run. In the fall of 2003 or spring 2004.

In February of this year, (2003) he once again donned his directing cap for the unearthing of the pulp fiction writer, Charles Willeford's only play, HIGH PRIEST OF CALIFORNIA for a 42 performance Off Broadway run. HIGH PRIEST was critically acclaimed by the New York press highlighted by wonderful notices by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Out and Backstage, respectively. In July 2003, HIGH PRIEST OF CALIFORNIA was named "One of the Best Off Broadway Plays of the Season" by Bruce Weber of The New York Times. Once again for this effort The Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts Archives honored it with a videotaping.

29th Street Rep has been a rich experience as well as an education in theater that has been invaluable with its on the job training aspect. I would recommend to any actor looking for the best education in theater to get involved with a company and just work, work, work, every chance you get, and trust me, it will pay many dividends in all of your future acting and theatrical endeavors. He is very proud of being a founding member of such a vibrant and dedicated theater company which continues to challenge itself and is committed to excellence and hard work in its quest to bring passionate theater to the Off and Off Off Broadway Theater here in the city. 29th Street is a gem hidden away in the heart of Chelsea in New York City. Please come and visit sometime.

As always, Rhoda, thank you for your love and support in all of my artistic endeavors.

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