Review Roundup: Geffen Playhouse's LIGHTS OUT: NAT KING COLE
In this electrifying exploration into the soul of an American icon, Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor imagine Nat "King" Cole as he faces the final Christmastime broadcast of his groundbreaking variety show and weighs the advice of his friend Sammy Davis Jr. to "go out with a bang." Cole's hit songs, such as "Nature Boy," "It's a Good Day" and "Smile," underscore this boldly original homage to the renowned performer who struggled to break through America's color barrier in the early days of television.
The production will now play through March 24. Tickets currently priced at $30.00 - $120.00. Available in person at The Geffen Playhouse box office, by phone at 310.208.5454 or online at www.geffenplayhouse.org. Fees may apply.
Rush tickets for each day's performance are made available to the general public 30 minutes before showtime at the box office. $35.00 General / $10.00 Student
Through a variety of events and other opportunities, The Geffen Playhouse welcomes college students to experience the live storytelling presented on our stages. We are proud of our association with UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television, and open our doors to all college students throughout Los Angeles. More information is available at www.geffenplayhouse.org/college.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Don Grigware, BroadwayWorld: It is understandable why Cole could not object publically to his dismissal. Negroes accepted their place, by keeping their mouths shut. Cole's always calm, cool facade kept every emotion locked inside. He wrote poems to express how he felt, but fighting causes was unheard of. in those times. Now is the time and Natalie Cole stood up and paid tribute a few years ago so that her father's music would be loved and respected. and remain his for all time.
Margaret Gray, LA Times: The murky book cannot stop the performances from thrilling. Hill and Watts are galvanic together as they reenact Cole and Davis' showstopping duets. Although nobody can replicate Cole's voice, Hill does a creditable job with his songs.
Deborah Wilker, Hollywood Reporter: Not all of Lights Out works as well. The script goes oddly awry about 70 minutes in (though it recovers by the end), and Cole's talent as a jazz musician is underplayed. But with Broadway so intent in recent years on mounting shows with the built-in familiarity of music we already love - in the guise of deconstructing the lives of icons - it's refreshing to see a "musical" in which narrative is king.
Dany Margloies, LA Daily News: Coleman and McGregor deliver a story about a real person without ever turning it into an "and then we wrote" tale or a straightforward biography. Still, they include fleeting bits of behind-the-scenes frissons and innuendo. So, please note, this production is not a floor show of Cole's and Davis' greatest hits. This is a gut-wrenching look at the inner life of a man who seemed implacable but who actually withstood so much, who took so many slings and arrows that he had to crack. And we watch the ugliness and feel every wound.