Playwright and actor Lee Edward Colston II on the beauty of a Black audience

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Lee Edward Colston II. Photo credit: Deborah Lopez

Actor and playwright Lee Edward Colston II’s artistic journey did not start directly at Julliard, though the fine arts school was a significant part of his path. Initially, as a young man, he followed his father’s career and worked as a corrections officer in a state prison before turning to a calling in the arts. 

Colston’s play “The First Deep Breath,” about a Black family with painful secrets that will be revealed, is finishing up its run at the Geffen Playhouse. Colston tells The Treatment that while he never wanted to be a corrections officer, it proved an invaluable experience on his path to becoming an artist. He also talks about how home can be its own kind of prison, and shares the thrill of breaking down historic norms of what a theater audience should be like.



Rebecca Mooney