Woolly Mammoth extends its season with Rodney King, performed by Roger Guenveur Smith and the return of Stupid F##king Bird by Aaron Posner.
Rodney King will concurrently with the Capital Fringe Festival, July 8 – 20th. Woolly will reunite with OBIE Award winning artist Roger Guenveur Smith after presenting his critically acclaimed A Huey P. Newton Story in 1996. Following its run at Woolly, the play was adapted into a Peabody Award-winning movie, directed by Spike Lee. Smith can be seen in a number of Lee’s films including Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Get on the Bus, and He Got Game.
In Rodney King, Smith explores the legacy of another American icon, colliding history and improvised poetry to unravel the myth of “the first reality TV star.” From the initial glare of the national spotlight as the victim of police brutality, to the symbolic heroism thrust upon him that ignited the LA riots, to his lonely death at the bottom a swimming pool, Smith captures the story of a flawed, good-hearted everyman, and by extension reveals America’s endlessly complicated relationship with its racial past and present. Smith premiered Rodney King at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, and then brought it to the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater, where it played to rave reviews.
The following week—starting July 28 and playing through August 17—Woolly will reunite the entire cast and creative team of Stupid F##king Bird, following its runaway success in the summer of 2013. This irreverent, contemporary, and very funny remix of Chekhov’s The Seagull received the most Helen Hayes nominations awarded to any single show in 2013 (eight nods), including Outstanding Play, Outstanding Director, and Outstanding Ensemble.
Says Woolly Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz: “I’m very proud to bring these two productions to Woolly this summer. Roger Guenveur Smith has created some of the most provocative solo works of the past two decades. But 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 (including Appropriate and We Are Proud to Present…..
“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. Stupid F##king Bird was one of the first plays to be created through Woolly’s innovative “Free the Beast!” fund, which has supported a deep collaboration among an exceptional team of artists. 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!”
Tickets to Rodney King will all be priced at a flat rate of $35. Tickets to Stupid F##king Bird start at $35-$65. All tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 202-393-3939, via email at [email protected] , or in person at the Box Office, located at 641 D Street NW, Washington, DC.