Best Stage Drama

King Hedley II , Karamu

Walking into most theaters on most nights, the best you can hope for is a couple of wow performances. But in Karamu's King Hedley II, the cast went six-for-six, as the players, directed with sensitivity and flair by Caroline Jackson Smith, nailed each of their characters. Of course, the script by August Wilson gave the Karamu crew plenty to chew on, focusing on ex-con King Hedley (a glowering E.B. Smith), his former jazz-singer mother, Ruby (Joyce Meadows, who sang as well as she acted), and his buddy Mister, played for many laughs by Anthony Elfonzia Nickerson-El. Just as accomplished were Cornell Hubert Calhoun III as the conniving hustler Elmore, the one-man, expletive-laced chorus played by Jaribu Sasa, and Regan Player, who, as King's wife Tonya, delivered the most gripping monologue of all. Thanks to them, this three-hour show left you pining for three more.
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