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FREDERICK DOUGLASS IN HIS OWN WORDS

American Prophet

  • Credits

    Book by Charles Randolph-Wright and Marcus Hummon
    Music and Lyrics by Marcus Hummon
    Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright
    Choreographed by Lorna Ventura
    Music Direction, Orchestrations, and Additional Arrangements by Joseph Joubert

  • Location

    Kreeger Theater

  • Run Time

    approximately 2 hours 15 minutes including a 15-minute intermission

“BEGUILING … Frederick Douglass lets FREEDOM SING”

— Peter Marks, The Washington Post

Charles Randolph-Wright (Arena’s Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story, Broadway’s Motown the Musical) returns to Arena Stage with a groundbreaking musical powered by Frederick Douglass’ own speeches and writings. Coupled with soaring new melodies and an original script from Grammy Award-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon and Randolph-Wright, Douglass rises as a fierce abolitionist and distinguished orator. Filled with an electrifying new score, this world premiere celebrates the revolutionary legacy of one of history’s first freedom fighters, whose fire is needed now more than ever.

logo: Edgerton Foundation.

American Prophet is made possible through generous funding from logo:Exelon.

American Prophet is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

This production is sponsored bylogo:AARPDan and Gloria Logan, and Tiffeny Sanchez and Reg Brown with additional support from Andrew R. AmmermanJudith N. BattyThe Drutz Family Fund for Musical Theater, Dr. Donald Wallace Jones, Dr. Betty Jean Tolbert Jones, and Tracey Tolbert Jones, , R. Lucia Riddle, and David Bruce Smith and The Grateful American Foundation.

Special thanks to Sandy and Jon Willen.

Special Performance Notes

For the performances on August 7 and 9, the role of Frederick Douglass, usually played by Cornelius Smith Jr., will be played by Curtis Wiley.

Weekday Matinees
Early Curtain
  • Sunday, August 7, 6:00 p.m.
Southwest Night
Post-Show Conversations 
Audio Described
  • Saturday, August 6, 2:00 p.m.

Cast

CAROLYN AGAN

Ensemble / Partial Swing

ERICA AUBREY

Mary Todd / Ensemble

KURT BOEHM

Reverend Gore / Edward Covey / Sec. Seward / Ensemble

ZOË BRYANT

Ensemble / Partial Swing / u/s Betsey Bailey / Elizabeth Keckley

CICILY DANIELS

Betsey Bailey / Elizabeth Keckley / Ensemble

KRISTOLYN LLOYD

Anna Murray Douglass

CHRISTOPHER B. PORTLEY

Demby / Ensemble

CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL RICHARDSON

Ensemble / Partial Swing

CHRIS ROBERTS

John Brown / Ensemble

BRENDON SCHAEFER

Ensemble / Partial Swing / u/s Abraham Lincoln / Garrison / John Brown

THOMAS ADRIAN SIMPSON

Abraham Lincoln / Garrison

CORNELIUS SMITH JR.

Frederick Douglass

CORREY WEST

Bill / Garnett / Ensemble / Dance Captain

CURTIS WILEY

Gabe / Ensemble / u/s Frederick Douglass

KANYSHA WILLIAMS

Sally / Ensemble / u/s Anna Murray Douglass

Creative

CHARLES RANDOLPH-WRIGHT

Book / Director

MARCUS HUMMON

Book / Music and Lyrics

LORNA VENTURA

Choreographer

JOSEPH JOUBERT

Music Director / Conductor / Orchestrator / Additional Arrangements

ARNULFO MALDONADO

Set Designer

DEDE AYITE

Costume Designer

RUI RITA

Lighting Designer

DAN MOSES SCHREIER

Sound Designer

MIA NEAL

Hair, Wig, and Makeup Designer

PAUL BYSSAINTHE, JR.

Associate Music Director / Replacement Music Director / Conductor

JOCELYN CLARKE

Dramaturg

OTIS RAMSEY-ZÖE

Dramaturg

TARA RUBIN CASTING CSA

Casting Director

JOSEPH PINZON

Local Casting

KENNETH B. MORRIS, JR.

Douglass Family Consultant

RACHAEL DANIELLE ALBERT

Stage Manager

MARNE ANDERSON

Assistant Stage Manager

ALEX MURPHY

Assistant Stage Manager

Photos

Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass) in "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass) in "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass) and the cast of "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Kristolyn Lloyd (Anna Murray Douglass), Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass), and the cast of "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass) and Kristolyn Lloyd (Anna Murray Douglass) in "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Thomas Adrian Simpson (Abraham Lincoln / Garrison) and Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass) in "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Kristolyn Lloyd (Anna Murray Douglass) and Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass) in "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass) and the cast of "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass) and the cast of "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Kristolyn Lloyd (Anna Murray Douglass) in "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass), Chris Roberts (John Brown), and the cast of "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Cornelius Smith Jr. (Frederick Douglass) and the cast of "American Prophet" running July 15 through August 28 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.

Multimedia

Cornelius Smith Jr. and Kristolyn Lloyd perform "Children of the Same River"
"American Prophet" trailer
Go Behind-the-Scenes with "American Prophet"
"American Prophet" Cast at National's Park
See what audiences are saying!
"American Prophet" First Rehearsal Opening Remarks
"American Prophet" In Rehearsal: "Let the Storm Come"
Ken Morris on Frederick Douglass
An interview with Charles Randolph-Wright and Marcus Hummon.

Song Selections

Hear sample music from American Prophet.

In The News

The Zebra

"American Prophet is Must-See Tribute To Great Orator"

Washington Post

In beguiling ‘American Prophet,’ Frederick Douglass lets freedom sing

Maryland Theater Guide

“If you only see one show this summer, make it American Prophet.”

Washington Informer

Arena’s ‘American Prophet’: Majestic, Mesmerizing – A Tour de Force

The Guardian

Frederick Douglass gets the Hamilton treatment with new musical

Broadway World

“A play that refuses to hold back”

DC Theater Arts

Unforgettably powerful ‘American Prophet’ is on fire at Arena

The Broadway Blog

Three Shows to Catch in Washington, DC this Summer

Broadway World

First Look at American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own words at Arena Stage

TheaterMania

Cornelius Smith Jr. on Spending Five Days at Memorial and Becoming an American Prophet

Playbill

World Premiere of American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words Opens July 28

NBC4 Washington

Frederick Douglass Musical ‘American Prophet' Premieres at DC's Arena Stage

Washington Post

Thanks to a new musical, Frederick Douglass dances into pop culture

WTOP

Arena Stage premieres musical based on Frederick Douglass’ life

Broadway World

Photos & Video: See Cornelius Smith Jr. & More in Rehearsals for the World Premiere of American Prophet at Arena Stage

Washington Post

The best things to do in the D.C. area the week of July 14-20

NBC The Weekend Scene

Things to Do in DC, From Family-Friendly to Offbeat

District Fray

Arena Stage Presents “American Prophet”

Playbill

Kristolyn Lloyd, Cornelius Smith Jr., More to Star in World Premiere of American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words

WJLA

Cornelius Smith Jr. and Kristolyn Lloyd ready for world premiere of 'American Prophet'

Washington Blade

Summer Theater for all Ages

WTOP

July Entertainment Guide 2022

FOX 5 DC

'American Prophet' stars talk Frederick Douglass, premiering at Arena Stage