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

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

The Arena Stage production stars Broadway veteran Kristolyn Lloyd and Cornelius Smith Jr. as Anna and Frederick Douglass.

Kristolyn Lloyd and Cornelius Smith Jr. Tony Powell

Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage opens its production of new musical American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words July 28 in the Kreeger Theater. Performances continue through August 28 for the world premiere, which began previews July 15.

Starring are Cornelius Smith Jr. (Scandal) as Frederick Douglass and Broadway alum Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen) as Anna Douglass, American Prophet uses Douglass' speeches and writings to explore the lives of Frederick and Anna Douglass. The couple fought together for freedom, and rose to prominence on national and international levels.

The cast features Broadway veterans Cicily Daniels (Broadway’s Once on This Island), Chris Roberts (The Civil War), Correy West (Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations), and Curtis Wiley (Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations), joined by Carolyn Agan (Arena Stage Cabaret Nights), Erica Aubrey (Far From Heaven), Kurt Boehm (Carousel), Zoë Bryant (Flying West), Christopher B. Portley (Antigone), Christopher Michael Richardson (A Strange Loop), Brendon Schaefer (P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical), Thomas Adrian Simpson (Disney’s Newsies), and Kanysha Williams (Drumfolk).

The musical features a book by Frederick Douglass, Grammy winner Marcus Hummon, and Charles Randolph-Wright (Trouble in Mind, Motown the Musical), with music and lyrics by Hummon. Randolph-Wright directs. Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., great-great-great grandson of Frederick and Anna Douglass and great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington, serves as a consultant on the production.

The creative team includes choreographer Lorna Ventura, set designer Arnulfo Maldonado, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Rui Rita, sound designer Dan Moses Schreier, associate music director Paul Byssainthe, Jr., dramaturgs Jocelyn Clarke and Otis Ramsey-Zoe, and hair, wig, and makeup designer Mia Neal. Music direction, orchestrations, and additional arrangements are by Joseph Joubert, and casting is by Tara Rubin Casting and Joseph Pinzon. Rachael Danielle Albert serve as stage manager, with Marne Anderson and Alex Murphy as assistant stage managers. 

American Prophet is produced by special arrangement with producer Reggie Hill and executive producers Kathleen O’Brien and ShowTown Productions. It kicks off the theatre's "Surviving and Thriving" season for 2022-2023.

For tickets and more information, visit


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