Cornelius Smith Jr., who played Marcus Walker on ABC’s Scandal for four seasons, will star in the world premiere of the new musical American Prophet July 10–August 16 in the Kreeger Theater at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Charles Randolph-Wright (Motown), as previously announced, directs.
Featuring a book by Randolph-Wright and music by Grammy winner Marcus Hummon (who also co-wrote the book), the musical chronicles the life and legacy of human rights leader, author, orator, and statesman Frederick Douglass.
Smith Jr., who will play Douglass, also starred as Dr. Frankie Hubbard on All My Children, earning an Emmy nomination and an NAACP Image Award. He most recently appeared in the Amazon film Seberg and will next be seen in a recurring role on the Lionsgate TV/Spectrum Originals anthology series Manhunt: Lone Wolf.
Additional casting will be announced later.
“Frederick Douglass always has been the ultimate hero to me, and American Prophet is one of the most inspiring projects I have ever done at Arena,” said Randolph-Wright in an earlier statement. “What a perfect place and a perfect time to tell this extraordinary and necessary story. How did this escaped slave become one of the most important people of the 19th century—of any century? The answer is in Douglass’ own words, and Marcus Hummon and I are proud and humbled to help bring these transcendent words to the stage.”
American Prophet, which received a reading at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in 2018, is produced in association with Reggie Hill.