Roger Guenveur Smith’s ‘Rodney King’ Coming to Contemporary Arts Center

Roger Guenveur Smith during 'Rodney King' performance
Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.

About the Artist:

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.

Roger Guenveur Smith during 'Rodney King' performance
Credit: Patti McGuire

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.

Check out the trailer:

The performance will take place this weekend, Friday, Sept. 14, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3 p.m. Tickets are on sale now.

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