Arena Stage has announced casting for the world-premiere musical American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words, which will kick off the theater's "Surviving and Thriving"-themed 2022-23 season. Performances will run from July 15-August 28 in the Kreeger Theater with an official July 28 opening.
Powered by Frederick Douglass' own speeches and writings, American Prophet is created by Charles Randolph-Wright (Trouble in Mind) and Grammy Award winner Marcus Hummon ("Bless the Broken Road"). Randolph-Wright directs with choreography by Lorna Ventura and music direction, orchestrations, and additional arrangements by Joseph Joubert.
The production will star Cornelius Smith Jr. (ABC's Scandal) and Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen) as freedom fighters Frederick and Anna Douglass. The show explores Douglass's rise from slavery to national prominence, and from forced illiteracy to the heights of literary and oratorical renown. American Prophet is the recipient of a Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Also joining the cast are Arena Stage veterans Carolyn Agan, Kurt Boehm, Thomas Adrian Simpson, and Kanysha Williams, as well as Erica Aubrey, Zoë Bryant, Cicily Daniels, Christopher B. Portley, Christopher Michael Richardson, Chris Roberts, Brendon Schaefer, Correy West, and Curtis Wiley.
The creative team includes 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, casting directors Tara Rubin Casting CSA and Joseph Pinzon, stage manager Rachael Danielle Albert, and assistant stage managers Marne Anderson and Alex Murphy. The production also credits Douglass Consultant Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., the great-great-great grandson of Frederick and Anna Douglass and the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington.