Kristolyn Lloyd, Cornelius Smith Jr., More to Star in World Premiere of American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words | Playbill

Regional News Kristolyn Lloyd, Cornelius Smith Jr., More to Star in World Premiere of American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words

The Arena Stage production will also feature Broadway alums Chris Roberts, Cicily Daniels, Correy West, and Curtis Wiley.

Kristolyn Lloyd and Cornelius Smith Jr. Tony Powell

Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage has announced the cast for its upcoming world premiere of American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words. Previews will begin July 15 in the Kreeger Theater, with opening night set for July 28 and performances continuing through August 28. 

Starring in the new musical will be Cornelius Smith Jr. (Scandal) as Frederick Douglass and Broadway alum Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen) as Anna Douglass. Joining them will be 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).

Completing the cast will be Carolyn Agan (Arena Stage Cabaret Nights), Kurt Boehm (Carousel), Thomas Adrian Simpson (Disney’s Newsies) and Kanysha Williams (Drumfolk), Erica Aubrey (Far From Heaven), Zoë Bryant (Flying West), Christopher B. Portley (Antigone), Christopher Michael Richardson (A Strange Loop), and Brendon Schaefer (P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical)

Using Douglass' speeches and writings, the new musical explores the lives of Frederick and Anna Douglass, who fought together for freedom and rose to prominence on national and international levels. Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., great-great-great grandson of Frederick and Anna Douglass and great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington, served as a consultant on the production.

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 will direct the production which features choreography by Lorna Ventura, as well as music direction, orchestrations, and additional arrangements by Joseph Joubert.

The creative team will also include set designer Arnulfo Maldonado, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Rui Rita, sound designer Dan Moses Schreier, associate music director Paul Byssainthe, Jr., and dramaturgs Jocelyn Clarke and Otis Ramsey-Zoe. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting and Joseph Pinzon. Rachael Danielle Albert will 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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