Piazza, Leslie Lillis

Leslie Lillis (Piazza)

What can I say about Leslie? She was my first — lots of things — friend who was a girl (I mean true friend), we were soul-mates from the time we met in 5th Grade; she was my first collaborator; she was my first defender; and although we never were really an ‘item’ she was my first girlfriend. I think she taught me what it was like to associate with a ‘female of the species’ and do it right. She was always incredibly supportive of me and anyone else who came into her sphere of influence.

We were thick as thieves in 7th and 8th grades and we took many of the same classes in High School (especially French with Madame Marshall, Madame LaPert and Monsieur DeSandre [in High School]) and were active together in all the Drama and Music Department productions. We rehearsed, partied, played and supported each other. We also formed an amateur youth theatre group together THE PLANK ROAD PLAYERS — producing Oliver!, The Music Man and Babes In Arms over the summers of 1969, 1970 and 1971.  (Our Sophomore, Junior and Senior years.) We were in all three shows together and we were running the group with the help of oh so many of our still very close friends.

We left for different colleges and corresponded — constantly. She visited me in Provo, Utah and I visited her in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. Then we were chosen to work with our favorite man of all time, Robert G. Peck, Jr. to write the pageant for our hometown.  What a year that was —  filled with more college for her and work for me as I came home to live with friends since my parents had retired and moved away. But Leslie and I were always together. We wrote, laughed, cried, got frustrated, celebrated, orchestrated, sang and produced and directed — together.

When that year ended — it was the hardest decision for me — but I went back to school. So did Leslie. But we kept in touch. We are still in touch. Much of that theatrical gang of our youth are still in touch. Leslie is the cement that holds it all together.

She graduated in Music. She has a husband of many years and two lovely daughters. She is a special and unique person and there will never be anyone close to her in my own universe, except for my wife. My Solar System has twin suns around which all of the other planets revolve.

Thank you, Leslie!

Musical Authored together:

Old Hundred, New Hundred