Miami Proud: Local actor and producer Benji Leon’s sees a bright future for South Florida’s theater scene
MIAMI- Musical theater fans may have attended the recent performance of “In the Heights” at the Adrienne Arsht Center with Miami actor Benji Leon in the lead role, “Usnavy,” in a role made famous by the creator and star of the musical Lin Manuel Miranda.
“It’s a lot of fun playing that character – filling those shoes – or doing my best to fill those shoes,” laughed Leon.
“It’s a lot of fun and a huge honor to do it. Such an energetic part, it’s cool.”
Leon started his own theater company Loxen Productions.
He performed this version of the award-winning musical here after a two-year hiatus due to COVID and with an all-local cast.
Like most actors, he got his start on a small stage in high school.
“I studied at the Miami Children’s Theater, they did a (quite ironic) production ‘In the Heights’, and I think from there I caught the virus so to speak and fell off in love on day one,” he said.
He had lead roles in “Shrek”, “Willy Wonka”, “Aladdin”, and more.
His passion for acting grew to start his own company at just 21 and surround himself with other local talent to produce “In the Heights” for South Florida audiences.
“The entire cast is from here and I couldn’t have asked for a better ensemble to dance and sing alongside me on stage to bring the story to life as they are truly top notch actors and performers. .”
He also had the opportunity to perform recently in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center, where he sang alongside some of Disney’s original “Encanto” cast.
Leon has been very grateful.
“Honestly everything kind of worked out, I’m very blessed and very lucky to be surrounded by people who will take care of me and guide me in the right direction.”
His mission is to continue to promote and give an opportunity to local talent, noting that South Florida is thriving with talented actors who can put the Magic Town in the spotlight, and he is proud to do so. part.
“Give it enough time in the next few years if Miami continues in the right direction, I think it can be as big as New York or Los Angeles.”