MICHAEL JAMES LESLIE is from Brielle, New Jersey and is a Rutgers College and Cornell Law School graduate who made his theater debut in the first Broadway revival of Hair directed by Tom O'Horgan. Michael then starred in The Wiz with Stephanie Mills and was the last Lion of the Broadway production. He then was part of Stephanie Mills' acclaimed "Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin" tour which played The Metropolitan Opera House and the Kennedy Center. Michael also originated the role of The Voice of the Plant in Little Shop of Horrors in Los Angeles, London (Olivier Award for Best Musical), the Broadway production and National Tour. Other productions in which Michael has appeared include: Senator Joe (Broadway), the National Tour of Beauty and the Beast, Sweeney Todd, Guys and Dolls, Boys from Syracuse, the La Jolla Playhouse production of Shout Up A Morning, Ain’t Misbehavin, Man of La Mancha, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (Scandinavia), Call Me Madam w/Leslie Uggams, The Music of Sir Tim Rice (Barbados). Once On this Island, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, My One and Only, Harry Connick Jr.'s The Happy Elf, The Hot Mikado and A Christmas Carol (Norfolk Stage, John Engeman Theater). Michael has also appeared in concert with Peter Nero and the Philadelphia Philharmonic. He can also be heard on Jay Records recording of The Gig and is proud to have been part of the Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall concerts of Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson's (ABBA) Kristina conducted by Paul Gemignani, which was recorded by Decca Records.
Michael has also appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in duet with Little Shop of Horrors star Ellen Greene and has appeared twice on The Conan O’Brien Show, and in August 2016 appeared on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Michael had the honor of being nominated as Best Supporting Actor, by the Denver Post Ovation Awards for Little Shop of Horrors in 2005, and Best Featured Actor in a Musical or Revue in Chicago for Once on this Island in 2010 by BTA of Chicago. Michael was seen as Joe in the record-breaking production of Show Boat at the Asolo Repertory Theater in Sarasota and starred with dear friend Leslie Uggams in the ground-breaking production of Gypsy at Connecticut Repertory Theater. Michael most recently completed an innovative production of "Hair" called "Hair: Retrospection" at Kansas City Repertory. The show garnered raves from critics and audiences. Michael is presently Judge Turpin in the Barrow Street Production of "Sweeney Todd.