Continuing a legacy of black artistry on the Theatreworks stage

On Thursday, April 27, Theatreworks opens “King Hedley II,” marking the company’s fifth production from August Wilson’s canonical Pittsburgh Cycle. The Pittsburgh Cycle features 10 plays, one for each decade of the 20th century, set in Black communities in Pittsburgh.

Comparatively few theatre companies ever complete the cycle, and to reach the halfway point of that quest represents an exceptional commitment to both diverse stories and canonical American work.

“King Hedley II,” the 1980s installment of the cycle, follows the titular character as he searches for his version of the American Dream and reintegrates with his family and community following an extended absence. King finds himself selling refrigerators and hangs all his hopes on making enough money to buy a video store that will carry him and his family to financial stability. When that plan falters, King faces towering questions of loss, love, and legacy.

Featuring characters from Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” (performed by Theatreworks in 2013), “King Hedley II” offers audiences masterful writing, compelling performances, and a visually engaging take on the 1980s and what the American Dream might mean across communities.

“I think everyone should see ‘King Hedley II,'” said Director Marisa Hèbert. “There’s a lot of themes of family in this show. I think it would be fantastic for people who love history and just want to see how history throughout these time periods effected not just African-American families but society and the justice system. There’s so much in there for people who enjoy history, and for anyone who just wants to really disappear into a brilliantly written story that navigates such deep concepts of humanity.”

Under Hèbert’s direction, the play brings together artists familiar to Theatreworks’ audiences with newcomer to the Theatreworks stage from Denver and beyond. Alex Campbell and Adrienne Martin Fullwood (both most recently seen in “The Bluest Eye”) appear alongside Abner Genece (“Measure for Measure,” “Around the World in 80 Days”), Shabazz Green (“Cinderella” and “In the Heights” at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College), Dwayne Carrington, and Michael Sapp who will be taking on King Hedley himself. The design team includes Frank Oliva, Alexandra Vasquez-Dheming, Patrice Mondragon, Holly-Kai Hurd, Jocelen Smith, and Michael Lee.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate artistic excellence in the Colorado Springs community, spend an
evening with a classic American story, or simply want to enjoy a thought-provoking theatre experience,
then add “King Hedley II” to your calendar!

In addition to the play, the UCCS Theatre & Dance program invited the esteemed actor John Douglas Thompson to join audiences for a special Prologue on the occasion of “King Hedley II.” Internationally regarded as one of the finest Shakespearian actors of his generation, John is also an expert on the plays of August Wilson, having received a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of Becker in Jitney. Local audiences will remember his virtuosic performance as Louis Armstrong in Satchmo at the Waldorf that performed at Theatreworks in 2016.

Audiences looking for more can join him for an actor’s perspective on August Wilson at 2:30 p.m. on April 23, the weekend before the opening of the show. Registration is free and open to the public.

“King Hedley II” plays from Thursday, April 27 through Sunday, May 21 in the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant
Theater at the Ent Center for the Arts. Tickets are on sale now at or via
the Box Office at 719-255-8181. Tickets range from $10 to $36.75. Show times are Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 4 p.m.

Take your experience to the next level and stay for discussions surrounding the performance of your
choice. Attend on a Thursday night to catch a Scholar and Designer chat starting at 6:45 p.m., after Saturday matinees for a community conversation, or on the second or third Sundays of the run for an Artist Conversation with the actors immediately following the performance.

About Theatreworks Colorado Springs

Theatreworks Colorado Springs connects, empowers, and delights our communities through diverse performances and educational experiences that are mirrors for ourselves and windows into others. We create in service to our audiences, our staff and artists, the UCCS students and community, and the people of Southern Colorado to envision a better world. Founded in 1975 by artistic director Murray Ross, costume designer Betty Ross, and an ensemble of passionate artists, today the program is led by artistic director, Caitlin Lowans, who was appointed in 2018 – the same year the Ent Center of the Arts opened its doors to the community. Caitlin brings a passion for education and for community-engaged work, celebrating the diversity of human experience.

About the Ent Center for the Arts

This first-class arts facility, located on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus serves the community as a hub for the arts and an inspiration in academics. The vision for the facility was and is to foster a creative environment to house arts that will serve the Pikes Peak region, allowing artists to inspire and amplify one another rather than compete against one another. Art brings together diverse peoples and ideas in ways no other discipline can, and the Ent Center will be a pillar of the arts community within Colorado Springs. Learn more at