Roger Guenveur Smith performing Rodney King at L.A.'s Center Theatre Group. Smith will bring his one-man show to Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company this summer.
Roger Guenveur Smith performing Rodney King at L.A.'s Center Theatre Group. Smith will bring his one-man show to Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company this summer.
(© Craig Schwartz)

Washington, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has announced two shows joining its summer season.

Roger Guenveur Smith's critically acclaimed solo performance Rodney King will enjoy a limited engagement from July 8-20. The production explores the legacy of Rodney Glen King, an African-American construction worker and serial criminal who gained national recognition after being beaten by Los Angeles police officers following a high-speed car chase in 1991. Smith, depicting King as a flawed yet good-hearted everyman, delves into America's complicated relationship with its racial past and present.

Beginning July 28, Woolly Mammoth will reunite its 2013 cast and creative team of Stupid F**king Bird, playwright Aaron Posner's contemporary comic adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. During its initial run, the production earned a total of eight Helen Hayes Award nominations — the most of any single show in 2013. Performances will run through August 17.

"I'm very proud to bring these two productions to Woolly this summer," says Woolly Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. "The timeliness of his new piece about Rodney King is almost shocking in relation to the Trayvon Martin verdict and other recent cases that have continued to make black men and boys feel uniquely vulnerable in our society, and his performance will extend an important conversation about race that has flowed through our current season. And as we get ready to launch our 35th anniversary season, I'm thrilled to return to one of our audience's favorite productions ever…Aaron's radically new riff on Chekhov's The Seagull not only calls for 'new forms' of theatre — as the original did — but goes much further by interrogating the act of theatergoing itself!"