L.A. Radio Takes on Huey P. Newton, Feb. 16-20

News   L.A. Radio Takes on Huey P. Newton, Feb. 16-20 Actor-playwright Roger Guenveur Smith will perform his celebrated one man show, A Huey P. Newton Story, for L.A. Theatre Works' "The Play's The Thing" live radio series, Feb. 16-20.

Actor-playwright Roger Guenveur Smith will perform his celebrated one man show, A Huey P. Newton Story, for L.A. Theatre Works' "The Play's The Thing" live radio series, Feb. 16-20.

Smith has brought his solo to such venues as the Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater (formerly the Majestic Theater), Harvard and Harlem. The performer has also acted in the Spike Lee films "Do the Right Thing," "Get on the Bus" and "Summer of Sam." Other movie credits include "Deep Cover," "Eve's Bayou" and "Poetic Justice."

In the play, Smith impersonates controversial Black Panthers leader Newton in all his contradictions and manic energy. Holder of a doctorate from the University of California, Newton battled drugs for two decades and was shot to death by a pusher in 1989.

The performance, which played for several weeks at Off-Broadway's Public Theater in 1997, has won Smith an Obie Award, a Helen Hayes Award, a Drama Desk nomination and three NAACP Awards.

As in previous incarnations, Marc Anthony Thompson is the work's composer. All "The Play's the Thing" theatre productions are recorded for future broadcast on Santa Monica College's KCRW 89.9 FM. Productions have won several awards including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Gold and Silver Awards, three Sony Awards, the Writer's Guild of America's Best Comedy Award and the 1999 Audie Award for Best Dramatic Production from the Audio Publishers Association.

Tickets are $35-$31 and available by calling the TheatreWorks box office at (310) 827-0889. Performances run at the Skirball Center at 2701 N. Sepulveda Boulevard.

The next play in the Radio series (March 15-19) will be Alan Ayckbourn's Just Between Ourselves, featuring an all-English cast: married couples Alfred Molina and Jill Gascoine, and Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres.

-- By David Lefkowitz
and Robert Simonson