Theater director Joseph Adler famously keeps very tight control over the artistic substance of GableStage. Yet Adler recently entrusted two productions — The Children and White Guy on the Bus — to one of the busiest freelance directors in the region: Michael Leeds. Adler was well rewarded. Leeds delivered some of the most effective and thought-provoking work of the past 12 months in these tales of complex relationships set against a backdrop of social issues such as racism and environmental apocalypse. Leeds is almost never at rest in South Florida, where he works as a playwright, teacher, and choreographer, as well as associate artistic director at the LGBTQ-centric Island City Stage. Theater playbills across the nation have heralded his work, including writing and directing the Broadway musical Swinging on a Star, which was nominated for a Tony Award in 1996. Several directors have a niche in which they are especially skilled, but Leeds' versatility encompasses trenchant drama, silly comedy, musical revues, and just about anything else. He's also a quietly integrated part of the theatrical community, often attending other theaters' productions as much to give support as to spot new talent to cast. His staging is so skilled it can be invisible, but his strength is coaching personal-best-quality performances from his actors whether neophytes or veterans.