In Loving Memory of Leon S. Zionts (1958-2019)
Leon S. Zionts (1958-2019)
Co-Founding Producer of Front Porch Theatricals
(*as seen in the program of FUN HOME, Leon's last Front Porch production)
LEON S. ZIONTS (Producer) Since soloing with A Spoon Full of Sugar in his first Cub Scout show, all Leon has ever really wanted to do was perform. After an initial eight year stint wandering Wheeling’s Oglebay Park, Leon grew up in Churchill, where he was mentored by Rosette Hillgrove, Jerry Shannon and Larry Cervi, and performed in as many community and school productions as he could. Majoring in political science for two weeks at The George Washington University, Leon quickly changed his major to Dramatic Arts/Musical Theater and never looked back (well, there was a brief 20 year hiatus only practicing law, but he since found some life balance and returned to theater in the late 90’s). Performance being his passion, Leon has learned that producing is his pleasure, and he cherishes each opportunity to create art in collaboration with Nancy and Bruce, and each of Front Porch’s impassioned, committed and exceedingly talented directors, designers and performers. As an actor, Leon’s favorite musical roles include Tevye in Fiddler..., Tateh in Ragtime, Peron in Evita, Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors, and Max Schotz in The Carols, with local companies such as Stage 62, The Jewish Theater of Pittsburgh, Carrnivale Theatrics, Off The Wall/Carnegie Stage and many others. Leon has also performed principal roles with The Pittsburgh Savoyards (mainly as the patter baritone) and Undercroft Opera Company and presents his “One Leon Show” of Broadway and other classics. As a producer, Leon’s favorite shows have been…all of them! Leon is ever grateful to Nancy and movedout daughters Allison and Dani for their uplifting love and support, and to Fiyero and all the schnauzers.
L'Chaim, To Life, To Leon
"Leon S. Zionts was a man with a song in his heart, a joke at the ready and a helping hand for all in the theater community that he called his second family. The 61-year-old lawyer, performer and producer died midday on Sunday from pancreatic cancer. He spent his final days in his Point Breeze home, receiving friends and surrounded by his family and with his beloved dog, Fiyero, who always got a program credit. When he died, the show tune "Corner of the Sky' was playing on repeat."
- Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
"Zionts began producing musicals with Bruce E.G. Smith in 2008, forming the boutique musical theater production company Front Porch Theatricals. Nancy joined the company in 2014. 'We became producers,' Smith said. 'We always joked about the musical The Producers. He wanted to be in the image of Max Bialystock and I was Leo Bloom.' They staged productions of popular, well-known shows like In the Heights, Parade and Big Fish. 'The heart and soul of the company is Leon and that will never be replaced,' Smith said."
- David Rullo, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle