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Frederick Douglass NOW
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 United States
“Roger Guenveur Smith gets it all. And gets it brilliantly.”
—New York Times
Roger Guenveur Smith returns to the August Wilson Cultural Center with his signature solo performance of FREDERICK DOUGLASS NOW. The pioneering abolitionist and feminist illuminates our present moment through Smith’s 21st Century take on Douglass’ crucial 19th Century speeches, letters, and editorials.
Last summer, AWAACC presented an acclaimed performance of FREDERICK DOUGLASS NOW at the legendary Tabernacle, Martha’s Vineyard, where Douglass himself spoke. The play was initially devised by Smith as an undergraduate, the first in a prolific series of historically-inspired work for the international stage.
Smith adapted his Obie Award-winning A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY into a Peabody Award-winning telefilm, currently streaming on Hulu. His Bessie Award-winning RODNEY KING is on Netflix.
Both NEWTON and KING were directed for the screen by Smith’s longtime colleague Spike Lee.
For Lee’s classic DO THE RIGHT THING, Roger created the stuttering hero Smiley, one of a gallery of memorable characters in a relationship unique in the American cinema. Roger and Spike were honored at the Cannes Film Festival for their three decades of collaboration.
Roger is currently featured as unsung radical Dr. TRM Howard, in Chinonye Chukwu’s TILL, and recently guest starred on the OWN series ALL RISE and QUEEN SUGAR. Onscreen Roger has also played Booker T. Washington, NAACP Secretary Walter White, Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, California Governor Pio Pico, and Raymond Parks, husband and comrade of Rosa Parks.
His stage work also includes studies of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Simon Rodia, and Charles White, and baseball greats Juan Marichal and John Roseboro in JUAN AND JOHN, presented at the Wilson Center.
Roger studied at Yale University and Occidental College, and has taught at both institutions as well as Cal Arts, directing his Performing History Workshop.