A native of Santa Maria and a PCPA alumni, Leo Cortez was accepted into the PCPA Acting Conservatory right out of high school. After graduating from PCPA he attended Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri where he earned his BFA in theatre arts.
After acquiring his BFA he worked with some of the most celebrated companies in the country, including: St. Louis Rep, Houston’s Alley Theater, Chicago’s Marriott Lincolnshire, The Utah Festival Opera and The Oregon Cabaret. He also is fortunate to have worked with the Disney Company in Florida, The Jim Henson Company, and Sun Belt Scenic Stage and Screen.
As an actor, among his favorite credits are Santiago in Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics, Mendal in Falsettoland, Zangara in Assassins and Don Hemenedis in A Flea in Her Ear, Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha and Max Bialystock in The Producers.
He has directed productions of Pump Boys and Dinettes, ER / Emergency Room, Rounding Third and Anna in the Tropics.
His playwriting titles which have been produced with successful runs include adaptations of Francisco Jiménez’ novellas The Circuit, Breaking Through, and Reaching Out. He has also adapted Oliver Button is a Sissy, Whooway for Wodney Wat, and Night of the Living Dead. His original works include Karaoke Queens of the St. James, The Tribe, Excuse Me; Are you John Lennon, and False Profit.
Leo was invited to perform at the International Theatre Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland, in summer 2005 with the Santa Ynez High School production of his script The Circuit.
Leo is also the founder of Rainbow Artist Workshops, which is a producing entity for new plays and community support and awareness of controversial issues, and is the founder of Theatre On The Spot - A Playback Theatre Company, which has had seven successful remounts for touring as well as public performances.
Leo is currently the Director of Education and Outreach at PCPA - which is the very program that initially introduced him to the world of live theatre.