Broadway Actor to offer Discovery Day Keynote Address

Presentation Anchors April 10 Discovery Day

Kingsley LeggsBenedictine College in Atchison, Kan., will host its 24th annual Discovery Day on Wednesday, April 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This year it will feature more than 85 presentations involving nearly 200 students discussing their research on everything from concrete canoes to Gershwin melodies. The day will also feature a keynote address from Broadway performer and 1983 Benedictine graduate Kingsley Leggs, who has appeared on Broadway in Sister Act, The Color Purple and Miss Saigon and is currently appearing in Pretty Woman. His presentation is set for 1:00 p.m. on April 10 in O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium inside the St. John Paul II Student Center. All events and presentations are free and open to the public.

Each year, Benedictine College cancels its classes and meetings to allow for students and faculty to attend Discovery Day, a day of learning focused on student projects that have been researched outside of the classroom. More than 3000 students have participated in Benedictine’s Discovery Day since its inception in 1996. In that time, most faculty members and academic departments have taken an active role in sponsoring student projects.

Leggs, who grew up in the St. Louis area before coming to Benedictine College, earned a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance. His classical training at Benedictine contributed to his strong singing voice and commanding stage presence. It also helped him focus his attention so he could deliver a sincere and fresh performance each time he took the stage.

Leggs returned home to St. Louis after graduating and became involved with the St. Louis Black Repertory Company. In 1990 he moved to Chicago to test his talents in a larger market. He landed his first job at the prestigious Goodman Theatre. He auditioned for a role in the touring production of the Tony Award winning musical, Miss Saigon, which would begin performances in Chicago. He landed a part in the ensemble, but while he was waiting for the tour to begin, he received a life-changing call. There was an opening in the Broadway company of Miss Saigon. He accepted, and the name Kingsley Leggs made its first appearance in a Broadway playbill.

In 2000, the Los Angeles Stage Alliance honored Leggs' powerful work in Ragtime with a nomination for its Ovation Award in the category of Best Actor in a Musical. In 2003, he received another nomination for his role in Dreamgirls. The same year, he auditioned for a role in a new musical production, based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer-prize winning 1982 novel The Color Purple. Leggs got the role of Mister, the abusive husband of Celie, the story’s protagonist. The show opened at Atlanta's Alliance Theater and attracted the interest of a group of producers, including media celebrities Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey. They took the show to New York and in December, 2005, The Color Purple opened on Broadway, with Kingsley Leggs in the role of Mister.

National and International tours include Porgy and Bess, Sister Act, Miss Saigon, Ragtime, It Ain’t Nothing but the Blues and Forbidden Hollywood. Regional credits include performances at American Repertory Theatre, 5th Avenue, Goodman Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, Alliance Theatre, Baltimore Centerstage, The MUNY, and the St. Louis Black Rep. He has also made appearances in film adaptations of Broadway productions and on television in The Americans, The Good Wife, and Law and Order SVU.

After more than 35 years in the entertainment industry, Leggs is finding a way to meet the challenges of remaining relevant without giving up his old school values and work ethic. He dedicated himself to a career in musical theatre because he found it fun, exciting and ultimately rewarding. He is aware of theatre’s ability and responsibility to captivate, educate, and transport audiences while stimulating the mind. He is still determined to find in each character he plays, a powerful message to communicate, to entertain and to inspire.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.