Singer, producer, and writer Leslie Ball has performed on theater stages and in music clubs around the region and the country - from a summer serving as the Poet Laureate for the St. Paul Chautauqua Festival, to opening for Ellen Degeneres at the Guthrie Theater, from singing back-up for Gene Pitney at Carnegie Hall and later for the filming of his concert for Connecticut Public Television, to co-writing and starring in the award-winning concert-play Painting It Red at Berkeley Repertory Theater and Pittsburgh's City Theater.
Leslie's first solo recording Loring Park earned her a Minnesota Music Award for best female songwriter and remains a favorite on Minnesota Public Radio's The Morning Show. Many musicians, including Helen Reddy and Nick Lowe, have performed and recorded Leslie's material written as part of the critically acclaimed duo Les Rue and rock band Rue Nouveau. She currently performs regularly with bassist Anthony Cox and guitarist Dean Magraw.
In August of 1991, Leslie launched BALLS Cabaret, a weekly experimental stage for artists of any discipline, at any level of experience. BALLS is now in its fifteenth year and continually wins awards as the best open stage in town. BALLS was recently cited in the New York Times as a "must-see" while in the Twin Cities and the local press often refers to Leslie as "the den mother of the Twin Cities art community."
As someone in recovery herself, Leslie spent more than a decade in the public schools teaching young people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Colleagues described her as the "heart and soul" of their school community, and parents continue to testify to her healing impact in their children's lives. She also teaches in the summer school of rock "Day Jams" program, and is currently an adjunct faculty member at National American University in the Humanities Department, teaching the arts and critical thinking.
Leslie earned her MFA at New York University's Tisch Graduate School of the Arts in Writing for Music Theater. She is currently pursuing her second master's degree at United Theological Seminary. As a lifelong progressive, Leslie is seeking ways to engage with and respond to the religious right.