Darryl Van Leer
Award-winning Actor and Performer who produces, and stars in one-man shows including Power on Earth, Roadhouse Lounge, and more
Award-winning actor Darryl Van Leer has been captivating audiences for nearly two decades with his one-man dramatizations that he writes, directs and produces. Recently, Van Leer co-stared in the feature film Deadline starring Eric Roberts, which opened nationwide in theaters in 2012. Inspired by a true story, Deadline is adapted from Mark Ethridge’s novel Grievances.…
Award-winning actor Darryl Van Leer has been captivating audiences for nearly two decades with his one-man dramatizations that he writes, directs and produces. Recently, Van Leer co-stared in the feature film Deadline starring Eric Roberts, which opened nationwide in theaters in 2012.
Inspired by a true story, Deadline is adapted from Mark Ethridge’s novel Grievances. Van Leer’s most recent stage play entitled Rubycat Lawson’s Roadhouse Lounge was ten years in the making.
A trained musician, Van Leer started his musical career at age 11. Through live music, acting and singing, he showcases his full range of talent as he illuminates the need for music in today’s society. Ray Charles, Elton John, Little Richard and more are highlighted in this feel good production. Roadhouse is now being performed at theaters and performing art centers throughout the U.S.
In his original composition Power on Earth, Van Leer portrays some of the greatest legends and leaders of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The dramatization showcases Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X and more. Termed “emotionally riveting, masterful, and rousing” by Daily Variety, Power on Earth is a tour-de-force performance in which Van Leer creates living history.
As a full time actor, Van Leer has shared the screen with such actors as James Earl Jones, Samuel Jackson, Gregory Harrison, Rue McClanahan and Beau Bridges. Most recently, Van Leer starred in TLC’s reality series The Messengers.
He was one of the four finalists in the series that was devoted to finding America’s next great inspirational speaker. He starred in the role of a tough-love father in the Nickelodeon movie, First Time, the story of Jackie Robinson.
He also played the father in Aaron Spelling’s weekly series Safe Harbor, co-starring with Gregory Harrison. Other television series in which Van Leer has co-starred in include One Tree Hill and Sheena. Additionally, Van Leer has been featured in two HBO original movies, The Second Civil War and Up Against the Wall, as well as Fox’s Steel Chariots and NBC’s original movie, Witness to the Execution.
Darryl Van Leer, born in Madisonville, KY is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Communications.
He has performed at over 300 Universities in America and has been honored with awards from NACA, Campus Activities Today and received a nomination for “Best Performance” from Hollywood’s NAACP Image Awards.
Van Leer has also been recognized for his accomplishments as a Notable Kentuckian.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
The Norm of Greatness: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
RUBYCAT LAWSON’S ROADHOUSE LOUNGE
This stunning, foot-stomping musical tale of redemption follows the story of Matthew Porter, proprietor of the once famous Blues and Rock & Roll juke joint. The Roadhouse has been deteriorating for more than a decade, and Matthew has been declining along with it. When he receives a letter from the government claiming eminent domain for a new interstate highway, Matthew reaches the depths of despair and begins to mourn the loss of a historic landmark. Hope walks in – in the form of New York Times reporter Dawson Edwards, who has come to write an article on famous juke joints in the South. Matthew transports the reporter and the audience back in time to when the Roadhouse was booming, and transforms into the most electrifying performers of all time: Ray Charles, Little Richard, Elton John, Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, Big Joe Turner, Lionel Richie, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Together, Matthew and Dawson launch a plan to save the Roadhouse by earning the building a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Van Leer, a trained musician, brings to stage live music. With 21 on stage costume changes and 115 different sound effects, the audience will laugh, sing, and be inspired in this one-hour and thirty-five minute feel-good production.
MANDELA: LET FREEDOM REIGN
MANDELA: LET FREEDOM REIGN is the one man play on the life President Nelson Mandela. This electrifying performance opens with dimly lit stage as vocal narration tells the early life of Mandela leading up to his equal rights struggle against apartheid. With grand court room windows as the backdrop, Van Leer as Mandela delivers his “I Am Prepared to Die” statement from the dock at the Rivonia Supreme Court trial prior to being sentenced to life in prison. Next, the audience travels to Robben Island Penitentiary. With a single light overhead and sitting in a cold jail cell, Nelson tells of his 27 years in prison. This scene is entitled “The Dark Years.” The outcry opposing apartheid reaches the international community. The setting is now London , United Kingdom, where “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” an enduring influence to Mandela, speaks on the atrocities of apartheid and Mandela’s unjust imprisonment at Robben Island . With great jubilation enshrined with music, the audience witnesses Mandela’s victorious release from prison. The performance” Let Freedom Reign” closes triumphantly as The Republic of South Africa’s first democratically elected Black President, Nelson Mandela, delivers his world renowned “Inaugural Address.” Running time, 1 hour with Q&A
POWER ON EARTH
Van Leer’s signature, high-energy tour-de-force performance dramatizes key moments and events in the lives of eight prominent African-Americans of the 19th and 20th centuries. Led by the angelic narrator Gabriel, the audience is taken on a magical tour and comes face to face with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, Marcus Garvey, Frederick Douglass, Nat Turner, and blues greats Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. With 75 different sound effects, 14 different characters, and eight on-stage costume changes, the audience is catapulted through time in this heart-wrenching testament to man’s courage and determination. Power on Earth is one hour and twenty minutes with no intermission.
THE NORM OF GREATNESS
This stirring performance, based on the essential writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., opens with a narration describing the tribulations of the Montgomery Bus boycott. King’s testimony of these events is given in his passionate sermon “Early Days.” Next, the audience is transported to the year 1963, to witness King’s historical speech “I Have A Dream.” The Norm of Greatness also includes “The Drum Major Instinct,” “The Eulogy,” and “I See the Promised Land. This is a forty five minute performance plus a fifteen minute Q&A.
MY LIFE IN BONDAGE: THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
In this powerful, one-hour, two-act play based on The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Van Leer brings to stage a young scrapping Douglass, who gives an account of the most gut-wrenching events of his life. The audience relives moments with Douglass and his nurturing mother and grandmother, his life with the notorious slave master Edward Covey, as well as his thrilling and suspenseful train ride to freedom. This is a one hour play with no intermission.
Great innovators and inventors, such as George Washington Carver, Dr. Charles Drew, and Garrett Morgan are the highlight of this entertaining and thought-provoking performance. Matthew, a magical and insightful old man tries to encourage a nine-year old, disillusioned boy who feels he has no positive role models or leaders to admire. Through witty and comical storytelling, Matthew enlightens the boy of America’s great innovators. In a twinkling of an eye, the boy’s hopeless outlook is reversed as he is transported to the past to witness George Washington Carver at work at his Alabama Experiment Station. As a result the boy realizes that he does have much to be proud of. Great Innovators is a one hour play with no intermission.
Darryl Van Leer, Nelson Mandela
Darryl Van Leer (MLK)
1 HOUR OR LESS