Tavis Smiley, in partnership with Mills Entertainment, the leading producer of alternative and branded live entertainment, announce the initial dates for the nationwide tour of DEATH OF A KING: A LIVE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE. This multi-media stage presentation of Smiley’s best-selling book, Death of A King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year commemorates the upcoming 50th anniversary of King’s death. Tickets are on sale beginning Friday, November 3.
The widely-anticipated tour, sponsored by Walmart, will launch on Dr. King’s birthday, January 15, 2018 at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn, New York. Smiley narrates this joyful tribute that tells the little-known story of Dr. King’s final year. Against all the odds and with his popularity in deep decline, King summoned the courage, conviction, commitment and character to bring a message of peace, equality and justice to a bitterly divided nation. Joining Smiley will be jazz pianist Marcus Roberts, the genius of modern piano, performing stirring original compositions. Roberts’ new album, Trio Crescent: Celebrating Coltrane debuts later this month. Tony Award-winning Broadway and film director Kenny Leon (A Raisin In The Sun, The Mountaintop, August Wilson’s Fences) serves as Creative Consultant.
The tour will run through April stopping in Memphis on April 4th, the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination in the same city, and is currently scheduled to visit 40 markets. This stage presentation brings together elements of historic and evocative imagery and stirring live music with eloquent prose, declaring the truth of the impact that one man’s integrity and strong faith in humanity had on the American people, and people across the globe– a truth as timely today as it was 50 years ago.
“I’m excited to partner with Mills on such an important and timely project and look forward to kicking this off in Brooklyn,” said Smiley. “In our current political climate, DEATH OF A KING represents a narrative shift that’s not just about the normal discussion of left versus right and conservative versus liberal, but really a reset of our deepest values. Dr. King said in 1968 we needed a revolution of values, and 50 years later, DEATH OF A KING aims to reunite America with its best self.”
“Tavis’ performance is a true tour-de-force, radiating unmatched energy and commitment to social change through the monumental story of Dr. King. Tavis is the best possible narrator for this essential piece of theatre,” said Michael Mills, CEO of Mills Entertainment. “Mills is privileged to work with Tavis in bringing the final and untold year of Dr. King to audiences across the country at this pivotal moment in American history.”
Smiley’s book Death of A King is a New York Times best-seller and is being developed as a television event series with Emmy Award winner J.J. Abrams and Smiley executive producing, in partnership with Warner Bros. Television. Smiley’s PBS late-night talk show, Tavis Smiley, is currently in its 14th successful season.
DEATH OF A KING: A THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE
1/15/18: Brooklyn, NY – Kings Theatre
1/17/18: Medford, MA – The Chevalier Theatre
1/18/18: Schenectady, NY – Proctors Theater
1/20/18: Chicago, IL – The Chicago Theatre
1/21/18: Milwaukee, WI – The Riverside
1/25/18: Newport News, VA – Ferguson Center for the Arts
1/26/18: Baltimore, MD – The Lyric
1/27/18: Newark, NJ – Prudential Hall at NJPAC
1/28/18: Washington DC – The Warner Theatre
2/2/18: Philadelphia, PA – The Merriam Theatre at Kimmel Center
2/3/18: Rochester, NY – Auditorium Theatre
2/8/18: Tulsa, OK – Cox Business Center
2/9/18: Columbia, MO – Jesse Auditorium
2/18/18: Oakland, CA – The Paramount
2/21/18: San Antonio, TX – Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
2/22/18: Austin, TX – Paramount Theatre
2/25/18: Dallas, TX – AT&T Performing Arts Center
3/2/18: Columbus, OH – Palace Theatre
3/22/18: Richmond, VA – Carpenter Theatre
3/23/18: Charlotte, NC – Knight Theatre at Blumenthal Arts
3/24/18: Jacksonville, FL – Morgan Theatre
3/25/18: Tampa, FL – Ferguson Hall at The Straz Center
3/29/18: Dayton, OH – Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center
4/2/18: Atlanta, GA – Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center
4/4/18: Memphis, TN – Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
4/8/18: Savannah, GA – Johnny Mercer Center
About Tavis Smiley
Tavis Smiley is currently host of the late-night television show Tavis Smiley on PBS its 14th season, as well as “The Tavis Smiley Show” from Public Radio International. He is the author or co-author of 21 books, and his non-profit Tavis Smiley Foundation is now in the midst of a $3 million four-year campaign called “Ending Poverty: America’s Silent Spaces” to help focus on alleviating endemic poverty in America. TIME magazine named Smiley to the TIME 100, a list of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.”
About Marcus Roberts
Marcus Roberts is a brilliant composer and jazz pianist whose career was featured on a segment of the celebrated CBS News television show 60 Minutes (“The Virtuoso”) in 2014. Roberts is perhaps best known for his work integrating jazz and classical music styles through his ground-breaking arrangements of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and other orchestral works. He has received numerous prizes and awards, including commissioning awards from major symphony orchestras as well as from Jazz at Lincoln Center, Chamber Music America, and ASCAP, and also received the Helen Keller Award for Personal Achievement. His many recordings include solo piano, duets, and trio arrangements of jazz standards, original suites of music, large ensemble works, and symphony orchestra recordings on CD and DVD. Roberts has been on the forefront, fighting for the development and use of technology solutions for blind musicians. Roberts is Associate Artistic Director of the Savannah Music Festival and an associate professor of music at Florida State University. He holds an honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Juilliard School.
About Kenny Leon
KENNY LEON is a Tony Award winning Broadway and film director. His Broadway credits include the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington (Tony Award Winner for Best Direction of a Play and Best Revival), The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, Stick Fly produced by Alicia Keys, August Wilson’s Fences (which garnered ten Tony nominations and won three Tony Awards including Best Revival), the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun with Sean P. Diddy Combs, Gem of the Ocean, Radio Golf and the 2014 premiere of Holler if You Hear Me, a new musical created using the music of Tupac Shakur. Leon is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2010 Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing by the Drama League of New York, and the 2017 Mr. Abbott Award bestowed by the SDC Foundation. Mr. Leon is the Artistic Director of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Leon is a graduate of Clark Atlanta and is an honorary Ph.D. recipient of Clark Atlanta and Roosevelt Universities. He is currently serving as the Denzel Washington Chair at Fordham University.
About Mills Entertainment
Mills Entertainment collaborates with top networks, agencies, and licensors to create original, world-class live experiences. With full global distribution and partnerships worldwide, Mills Entertainment takes shows from concept to stage, serving as a complete solution in realizing the vision. In April 2015, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) made an equity investment in Mills Entertainment. Current projects include Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience, Mel Brooks: Back in the Saddle Again, Bring It! Live, #IMOMSOHARD, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live!, and The Scott Brothers House Party.
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