Roger Guenveur Smith returns to CAC with a performance that the Washington Post called “a striking, idiosyncratic solo work,” Rodney King. Having enjoyed international acclaim from New York City’s Public Theater to London’s Tate Modern Museum, the
film version, directed by Spike Lee, continues to stream on Netflix with subtitles in 42 languages.
Smith’s New Orleans engagement is a rare opportunity to experience live an artist who, according to The New York Times, “gets it all and gets it brilliantly.” In writing this rhythmically wrenching tour de force monologue, Smith was inspired by the late Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991 sparked rioting upon the officers’ acquittal of assault charges the next year. King tragically expired in his backyard swimming pool in 2012. Smith received a New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award for Rodney King in 2015.
Smith’s Obie Award-winning A Huey P. Newton Story was previously presented at the CAC, as was Inside the Creole Mafia, the “not-too-dark comedy” which earned Smith and co-creator Mark Broyard an official key to the city. Smith is on faculty at Cal Arts where he teaches a workshop entitled Performing History. Smith’s prolific screen credits include Kasi Lemmons’ classic Eve’s Bayou and the acclaimed Queen Sugar. He and longtime colleague Spike Lee were honored at last year’s Cannes Film Festival for their extraordinary body of collaborative work.
This presentation of Rodney King is made possible by the Wallace Foundation.
The CAC is supported in part by a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans and administered by the Arts Council New Orleans, as well as by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.