Lee Summers trained as an actor at HBCU Tennessee State University, performing leading roles in classic works ranging from Molière to Ibsen to Tennessee Williams and more. Since then, Summers has worked in major American repertory theatres, performed numerous roles for daytime and primetime TV, including Blue Bloods, Boardwalk Empire, New York Undercover, and Law and Order, and appeared in films such as Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee. As a musical theatre performer, Summers made his Broadway debut in the original Dreamgirls; he later reprised his role in the Dreamgirls 20th Anniversary Concert alongside Audra McDonald, Billy Porter, Heather Headley, Adriane Lenox, and other Broadway notables.
Summers has also appeared in numerous Off-Broadway productions, including On Kentucky Avenue, for which he was nominated for the 2018 AUDELCO award for Best Supporting Actor. Summers has toured the US and Europe and has also performed at Carnegie Hall.
As an award-winning director, Summers has directed musicals for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) along with countless New York and regional theatres, including Milwaukee Repertory, Urban Stages, The Cell Theatre, New World Stages, Aaron Davis Hall, Flushing Town Hall, and many others. Most recently, Summers directed student short films for Molloy College, while in 2020, he served as adjunct faculty and guest artist director/conceiver of an original virtual revue for NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions.
As a lyricist, librettist, and composer, Summers’ works have won many awards and competitions, including selection for presentation by NAMT. His works have also been licensed and produced in New York and in theatres nationwide, including Off-Broadway’s Kirk Theatre, The Gramercy Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Milwaukee Repertory, Metro Stage in Virginia, The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, The Long Wharf Theatre, Houston’s Ensemble Theatre, Ohio’s Karamu Theatre, Indianapolis’ Phoenix Theatre, The Delaware Theatre Company, Michigan’s Meadow Brook Theatre, The Madison Theatre, Theatreworks in Palo Alto, The Triad Theatre, New World Stages, AMAS Musical Theatre, New Jersey’s Crossroads Theatre, The Alvin Ailey Center, Radio City Music Hall’s workshop spaces, and others.
Summers is also known for his ability to bring fellow artists together to fundraise in times of crisis, such as his long running “Just A Piano” Concert Series, which presented a concert for Hurricane Katrina’s victims, along with numerous star-studded concerts for the Actor’s Fund and BC/EFA. While serving as GM of the historic Triad Theatre, Summers presented countless fellow Broadway artists, including Jenifer Lewis, Maurice Hines, Lillias White, James Monroe Iglehart, La Chanze, Chuck Cooper, Melba Moore, and many others.
In support of the environment, Summers has worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s development department presenting fundraisers, including the “NRDC Night of Comedy” featuring Seth Meyers, Hasan Minhaj, Tiffany Haddish, and others.
As an educator, Summers has served as adjunct faculty for Motlow College, Lehman College, and NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, and as guest artist lecturer at Tennessee State University, John Jay College, Marymount College, and others. Besides his work with NYU Steinhardt in 2020, Summers virtually taught libretto writing for Amas Musical Theatre and remains adjunct faculty for SUNY Empire State College as a prior-learning essay evaluator.
Summers is an alum of Tennessee State University and holds a BA from SUNY Empire State College and an MFA from NYU Tisch. Member: AEA, SAG/AFTRA, SDC, DGA.