Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

People's Light Announces Headliners for World Premiere of LIGHTS OUT: Nat 'King' Cole

People's Light Announces Headliners for World Premiere of LIGHTS OUT: Nat 'King' Cole

People's Light is delighted to announce the headliners for the upcoming world premiere of Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole by Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor, slated to open the Theatre's season in October 2017. Emmy-nominated actor Dulé Hill (The West Wing) will play Cole, and Broadway regular Daniel J. Watts will appear as Sammy Davis, Jr.

Co-authors Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor say, "We are beyond thrilled to collaborate with Dulé Hill and Daniel J. Watts, two of the most generous souls and thrilling performers working across entertainment platforms. It just makes complete sense to create with artists of this caliber who are equally passionate about music, dance, and social justice. They stand on the shoulders of Sammy Davis, Jr. and the phenomenal Nat King Cole, and will aid in this production's interrogation of art, heart, and the mind."

People's Light Producing Director Zak Berkman adds, "The electric talents of these actors are a perfect match for this production. Dulé and Daniel carry within themselves the legacy of Cole and Davis, in that they share the multifaceted skill sets of their predecessors, as well as their abilities to entertain and awaken simultaneously. People's Light is thrilled to include them in the development and world premiere of this ambitious project."

This weekend from July 14-16, co-author and director Patricia McGregor and John McDaniel join Hill and Watts and an impressive supporting cast to shape Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole while in residence at New York Stage and Film at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. The workshop includes Rebecca Covington as Eartha Kitt, Peter Davenport as The Producer, Meliki Hurd as Billy, Liz McCartney as Candy, Wade McCollum as The Stage Manager, Tess Soltau as Betty/Peggy, and LiLlias White as Perlina. John McDaniel serves as Music Supervisor, and People's Light Producing Director Zak Berkman oversees the workshop.

Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole focuses on Cole at the moment when his groundbreaking NBC variety show fails to attract a national sponsor. Cole famously declares that, "Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark." In their theatrical exploration of the soul of an American icon, Domingo and McGregor imagine Nat as he faces his final Christmastime broadcast, and weighs the advice of his friend Sammy Davis Jr. to "go out with a bang." This world premiere, replete with hits and holiday standards like "Nature Boy," "It's A Good Day," "Unforgettable," and "Joy to the World," also features appearances by Eartha Kitt and Peggy Lee. Directed by Patricia McGregor, this major new music-theatre exploration of race in America will debut on the Steinbright Stage in Malvern from October 11-December 3, 2017.

New York Stage and Film was founded in 1985 by Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer, and Leslie Urdang to provide artists with a rigorous and nurturing environment to invigorate the artistic process; to promote collaboration between artistic peers and between artists and audiences; and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge from one artistic generation to the next. Johanna Pfaelzer was named NYSAF's first Artistic Director in 2007, having first worked with the company as Managing Producer in 1998, and later as a Producing Director.


Notable productions that received vital incubation with NYSAF include: the Tony Award-winning Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda), The Humans (Stephen Karam), Tru (Jay Presson Allen) and Side Man (Warren Leight); the first public reading of John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning Doubt; The Invisible Hand and Junk by Ayad Akhtar; The Fortress of Solitude by Michael Friedman and Itamar Moses; The Jacksonian by Beth Henley; Seminar by Theresa Rebeck; American Idiot; and Jennifer Westfeldt's Friends with Kids, among others.

Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Production sponsors are PNC Arts Alive and PECO.


Colman Domingo (Playwright)
Colman is an Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League Award nominated, OBIE and Lucille Lortel Award winning actor, playwright and director. Theatre Includes: As an actor, he starred in the London Evening Standard Award-winning The Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic in London); made his British and Australian theatrical debuts with his self-penned solo play A Boy and His Soul (Tricycle Theater, Brisbane Powerhouse Theaters, New York's Vineyard Theater); and starred in his play Wild with Happy (Public Theater). As a writer, his latest play Dot premiered at the Humana Festival at Actors Theater of Louisville and Off Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre; he co-wrote the new musical Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (La Jolla Playhouse) and Lights Out: Nat King Cole (People's Light), both premiering this fall. He has directed for the Lark, The Geffen Playhouse, Actors Theater of Louisville, The Working Theater, New Professional Theater, Berkeley Rep, and Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Coming up, he will direct Ken Urban's world premiere of A Guide for the Homesick this fall (Huntington Theater). Film/Television Includes: Currently stars on AMC's Fear the Walking Dead as Victor Strand. 2017 will find him guest starring on Bojack Horseman (Netflix), Timeless (NBC), American Dad (FOX) and Miles from Tomorrowland (Disney Jr); recurred on The Knick (Cinemax) and guest starred on Horace and Pete (Hulu) and Lucifer (FOX). He recently wrapped the independent feature First Match for Netflix and Assassination Nation and co-starred in many films such as the Academy Award-nominated Paramount film Selma; Lee Daniels' The Butler; All is Bright; Newlyweeds; Steven Spielberg's Lincoln; three films directed by Spike Lee including Miracle At St. Ana, Red Hook Summer and Passing Strange; Freedomland; True Crime directed by Clint Eastwood; and The Birth of A Nation.

Dulé Hill (Nat)
Theatre Includes: Most recently appeared in the Tony nominated musical After Midnight (Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre). First came to prominence as The Kid opposite Savion Glover and Jeffrey Wright in Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk (Public Theatre, Broadway's Ambassador Theatre). Other stage credits include the Alicia Keys produced play Stick Fly (Broadway's Cort Theatre), Black and Blue (Broadway's Minskoff Theatre), Shenandoah (Paper Mill Playhouse), The Little Rascals (Goodspeed Opera House), and Amiri Barka's Obie award-winning play Dutchman (Cherry Lane Theatre). Film/Television Includes: Best known for his work as Charlie Young on The West Wing, for which he garnered an Emmy Award nomination and four Image Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, as well as receiving two Screen Actors Guild Awards as part of the ensemble in a drama series. He has been nominated for four NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on USA's Psych, in which he portrayed Burton 'Gus' Guster for eight seasons and served as a producer. Hill will be reviving this role with the original co-stars in the upcoming film Psych: The Movie, premiering on USA this December. This Spring, Hill starred in J.D. Dillard's drama Sleight, which has received rave reviews since its 2016 Sundance Film Festival debut. Hill most recently joined for a season-long arc as rival senior partner, Alex Williams, in the USA Network drama Suits, which just premiered its seventh season. Hill can also next be seen in the third season of the HBO series Ballers with Dwayne Johnson, which is set to return July 23rd. Previous film credits include the Independent Spirit Award nominated film Gayby; David H. Steinberg's Miss Dial alongside Robinne Lee, Sam Jaeger and Jon Huertas; Stuart Gordon's adaptation of David Mamet's Edmond, opposite William H. Macy; Andrew Davis' The Guardian; Disney's Holes, an adaptation of the award-winning children's novel by Louis Sachar in which he appeared as Sam the Onion Man alongside co-stars Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Shia LaBeouf; Gravy; Sugar Hill; She's All That; Sexual Life; and the independent comedy Remarkable Power, directed by Brandon Beckner starring Kevin Nealon and Kip Pardue.

John McDaniel (Music Supervisor)

John is a Grammy and two-time Emmy Award-winning Composer, Music Director, Arranger,

Orchestrator, Theatrical and Record Producer and is the Artistic Director of the Tony Award winning O'Neill Theater Center's Cabaret and Performance conference. Broadway credits include Bonnie and Clyde (Drama Desk Nomination, Best Orchestrations), Catch Me If You Can, Brooklyn (Producer and Orchestrator), Annie Get Your Gun (Grammy Award, cast album Producer), Taboo, Chicago, Grease, Patti LuPone on Broadway and Company - the Original Cast in Concert at Lincoln Center. John won his Emmy Awards for The Rosie O'Donnell Show and was nominated for 5 consecutive years for Best Music Direction. Recent credits include Maltby & Shire's Waterfall both in Los Angeles and Seattle and The Daughter of the Regiment at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. John has enjoyed collaborations with Cab Calloway, Shirley MacLaine, George Burns, Al Jarreau, Tyne Daly, Joel Grey, Carol Burnett, Frederica von Stade, Betty Buckley and most recently, Bette Midler. He has been guest conductor at many Symphony Orchestras including San Francisco, Indianapolis, Utah, Buffalo, Colorado, Baltimore, Phoenix and his hometown St. Louis Symphony. He holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon.

Patricia McGregor (Playwright/Director)
McGregor has twice been profiled by The New York Times for her direction of world premieres. Theatre Includes: Recently Good Grief (Center Theater Group), Hamlet (The Public Theater), Measure for Measure (Old Globe), The Parchaman Hour (The Guthrie), Ugly Lies the Bone (Roundabout), brownsville song (b-side for tray) (Lincoln Center), and Holding It Down (Metropolitan Museum). Other credits include A Raisin in the Sun, The Winter's Tale, and Spunk (California Shakespeare Theater); Adoration of the Old Woman (INTAR); The House That Will Not Stand (Berkeley Repertory, Yale Repertory); Blood Dazzler (Harlem Stage); Four Electric Ghosts (The Kitchen); Indomitable James Brown (The Apollo) and the world premiere of Hurt Village (Signature Theatre Company). She served as Associate Director of Fela! on Broadway. For many years she has directed The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. She co-founded Angela's Pulse with her sister, choreographer and organizer Paloma McGregor. Training: Attended the Yale School of Drama, where she was a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow and Artistic Director of the Yale Cabaret.

Daniel J. Watts (Sammy Davis, Jr.)
Theatre Includes: Eight Broadway shows including Hamilton, In The Heights and Memphis. An accomplished spoken word artist, in 2012 Watts launchEd WattsWords Productions. Daniel J. Watts' The Jam, an homage to his great grandmother who made homemade jam from scratch and gave away what she couldn't eat herself, is a spoken word/storytelling experience fusing a live band, song, dance and multimedia where Watts encourages audiences to focus on social similarities opposed to differences. Film/Television Includes: Recurring roles on NBC's Blindspot and HBO's Vinyl; The Good Wife (CBS); Blue Bloods (CBS); Odd Mom Out (Bravo); The Night Of (HBO); Boardwalk Empire (HBO); Person of Interest (CBS); Broad City (Comedy Central); and Smash (NBC). Film credits include Breakup at a Wedding; Among Brothers; and Freedom. Watts served as an adjunct professor of NYU's Tisch New Studio. He teaches his own course on how to truly engage in one's self in order to contribute meaningful and personal artistic work. Training: BFA, Elon University Music Theatre Program. 2011 Young Alumnus Award Recipient. Website: @dwattswords


Now in its 42nd season, People's Light, a professional, not-for-profit theatre in Chester County, Pennsylvania, makes plays drawn from many sources to entertain, inspire, and engage our community. We extend our mission of making and experiencing theatre through arts education programs that excite curiosity about, and deepen understanding of, the world around us. These plays and programs bring people together and provide opportunities for reflection, discovery, and celebration. Founded in 1974, we produce eight to nine plays each season, in two black box theatres with 340 and 160 seats respectively, mixing world premieres, contemporary plays, and fresh approaches to classic texts for our subscription series.

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Philadelphia Stories

More Hot Stories For You