From his Louisiana childhood to his shooting death on the streets of Oakland, CA, in 1989, A Huey P. Newton Story follows the black activist's rise and fall through a "cinematic, stream of consciousness" monologue. The show won three NAACP Awards (actor, playwright and production) for its Los Angeles engagement and won two Obies for its thrice-extended 1997 run at NY's Public Theatre.
Huey Newton returned to New York for three performances, Apr. 4-5, at the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem where, according to spokesperson Sonya White (of the Roger Furman Theatre, which is co-producing), "we could hardly close the doors for all the people." The show has therefore been brought back for a three-week run, May 7-31, again at the Schomberg Center, 515 Malcolm X Blvd (135th St.).
Author Roger Guenveur Smith stars as Newton, who co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense as a response to white racism in America, and his growing feeling that Martin Luther King's pacificistic call for unilateral brotherhood wasn't quite getting the job done. The self-directed monologue is taken from Newton's own written and recorded words and augmented with a soundscape designed by Marc Anthony Thompson. Sets and lighting for Huey P. Newton are by David Welle.
Previous Smith works in which he's performed include Frederick Douglass Now, Inside The Creole Mafia and Christopher Columbus 1992. He also acted in the Public's 1989 Coriolanus and directed Culture Clash's Off-Broadway show, Radio Mambo.
For tickets ($12-$15) and information on A Huey P. Newton Story, call (212) 926-0104. -- By David Lefkowitz