Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

I JUST WANT TO TELL SOMEBODY Will Be Performed at Theater For the New City in 2022

Performances are January 6 to 23, 2022, directed by Stephen Byrd.

I JUST WANT TO TELL SOMEBODY Will Be Performed at Theater For the New City in 2022

Ronald "Smokey" Stevens has adapted his autobiographical novel, "I Just Want to Tell Somebody: The Autobiography of Ronald Smokey Stevens," into a one-man, two character theater production. The play dramatizes Stevens' lifelong battle with drugs in which he, at long last, prevailed. "Smokey" plays both himself and his nemesis, a sarcastic doppelganger called "D MAN." The play ushers us through modern moments of theater history that were Smokey's triumphs and the journey through drug usage that was nearly his undoing. Theater for the New City will present the New York premiere of the work January 6 to 23, 2022, directed by Stephen Byrd.

Mr. Stevens earned a place on Broadway thanks to raw talent and his wits, becoming a featured ensemble member of such productions as "Bubbling Brown Sugar," "Inacent Black," "Dreamgirls," his own musical, "Rollin' on the T.O.B.A.," and tours of "One Mo' Time" and "Ain't Misbehavin'." His films include "The Wiz" (as one of the Crows performing with Michael Jackson), "The Cotton Club" and "Times Square." He danced with such greats as tap master Charles "Honi" Coles, Lucille Ball, Cab Calloway and Gregory Hines, to name a few. He's now Artistic Director of Capital City Readers Theatre in Washington, DC, recipient of The @NAACP 11th Annual Theater Arts Award, and a documentary filmmaker.

Stevens also co-conceived the vaudeville musical, "Shoot Me While I'm Happy," which ran at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. While in New York he also produced "The Sho 'Nuff Variety Revue" at The Village Gate, "The Rising Stars Cabaret" and productions at The Children's Theater of Harlem.

In an archival video clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYbjJ6343Sc), you can watch Stevens performing "The Hop Scop Blues" from "Rollin' on the T.O.B.A." (1999). That production was a salute to the genius of the entertainers who toured the black vaudeville circuit known as T.O.B.A.-- Theatre Owners' Booking Association--in the 1920's and 30's. It was both a champion and a destroyer of Black Vaudeville.

A native of Washington DC, he began his professional training and career at The D.C. Black Repertory Co., where he studied and performed in repertory for six years. After these studies, he performed in "Showdown Times" on The National Black Touring Circuit.

He once before adapted his book, "I Just Want To Tell Somebody, the Autobiography of Ronald Smokey Stevens," into a one man stage production of the same title and performed a developmental version of it at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington DC in 2011.

He is a graduate of The Community Film Workshop of Chicago, where he produced two 16mm short films. He received a Heritage Project Grant sponsored by The DC Humanities Council for his first documentary, "Preserving Ledroit Park." For DCTV, he co-produced a documentary on The Arc, a humanitarian mall serving the community east of the Anacostia River in Washington, DC. His other documentaries are "America: An Immigration Nation," "Dancing Destinations: The Story of DC Hand Dance" and "Black Broadway at The Village Gate."

He recently published his second book, "The First 60 Years, The History of Afro-American Musical Theater and Entertainment 1865-1930."

Direction and set design are by Stephen Byrd. Lighting design is by Alexander Bartenieff. Multimedia is by Larry Law.

Director/Set Designer Stephen Byrd hails from Washington, D.C., where he began his theater career at 16 in the Ted Shine production of "Mrs. Patterson," where he met and performed with Ronald "Smokey" Stevens. He studied Drama at Howard University (BFA cum laude) and trained in acting with James W. Butcher, Glenda Dickerson, and Linda Gravatt and directing with Vera J. Katz and Davey-Marlin Jones. As a matter of personal mission, he has written and directed 18 shows to-date for audiences in non-traditional venues including prisons, nursing homes, shelters for battered women, half-way houses, hospice facilities, homeless shelters, and drug rehab centers. He produced, wrote and directed "Teddy Bear Blues Don't Last" for the D.C. Black Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C. His acting credits include the lead in Bill Gunn's Emmy award winning drama "Johnnas" on NBC and the King in the Folger Shakespeare Theater's educational workshop's production of "Love's Labour's Lost."

Mr. Stevens writes, "Getting a show mounted in N.Y.C. is not an easy task. I want to thank Crystal Field for her mission and vision. I am extremely grateful to her, and to Theater for the New City, for providing me with the opportunity to share my newest work in such a prestigious historic environment.



THE VILLAGE! A DISCO DAYDREAM Reopens Tonight at Dixon Place Photo
The Village! A Disco Daydream returns to Dixon Place after a sold-out premiere run last fall. The encore engagement will be performed for four weekends opening tonight – Thursday, February 2 at 7:30 PM – and running through Friday, February 24.

Amanda Feldman Appointed Managing Director of Classic Stage Company Photo
Amanda Feldman will assume the role of Managing Director of Classic Stage Company beginning February 23, 2023.

Photos: Go Inside Rehearsals for BLACK ODYSSEY at Classic Stage Company Photo
Get a first look inside rehearsals for black odyssey written by Marcus Gardley, presented by Classic Stage Company.

KATSURA SUNSHINES RAKUGO Extends its Run at New World Stages Through the End of 2023 Photo
Katsura Sunshine continues to bring the 400-year-old Japanese art of Rakugo around the globe as he extends his stay in New York at New World Stages with its next show on February 18, and will run through the end of the year.


More Hot Stories For You


Playwrights Horizons to Host ALMANAC Literary Magazine Launch PartyPlaywrights Horizons to Host ALMANAC Literary Magazine Launch Party
February 1, 2023

Playwrights Horizons will host a launch party for the second print edition of the pioneering Off-Broadway theater’s innovative literary magazine, Almanac—toasting the publication with a gathering of some of today's most imaginative playwrights and theater-makers.

Jennifer Ehle, David Strathairn, Stephanie Berry & More to Star in PHEDRE Reading at Red Bull TheaterJennifer Ehle, David Strathairn, Stephanie Berry & More to Star in PHEDRE Reading at Red Bull Theater
February 1, 2023

RED BULL THEATER has announced the cast for the next offering of a new season of OBIE Award-winning Revelation Readings: the in-person and streaming presentation of Phèdre by Jean Racine.

Andre De Shields to Lead Re-Opening of La MaMa's Original Theatre 74AAndre De Shields to Lead Re-Opening of La MaMa's Original Theatre 74A
February 1, 2023

LA MAMA ETC will celebrate the re-opening of its landmark home 74A with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the refurbished building (open free to the public) on Thursday, February 9 at 11 a.m. at La MaMa.

STEALING MONA LISA Returns Off-BroadwaySTEALING MONA LISA Returns Off-Broadway
February 1, 2023

Fresh off a sold-out run at Theater for the New City, Stealing Mona Lisa - a New Musical is back Off Broadway for a one night performance designed to give theater goers and the industry one more chance to see the show based on the 1911 theft of that famous masterpiece.

KINGFISH Will Play 2023 FRIGID Fringe Festival This MonthKINGFISH Will Play 2023 FRIGID Fringe Festival This Month
February 1, 2023

Kingfish by Lane McLeod Jackson is a wild ride combining dark humor, dueling egos, miracles, and even a shot at redemption. Tyler Riley directs and stars in this one-of-a-kind exploration of what defines “greatness” while playing the dry-witted and stubborn J.J. Williams (bass fisher extraordinaire).