In conjunction with the premiere of Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole at People’s Light, lead actor Dulé Hill was interviewed by The Philadelphia Inquirer, saying that Cole “chose to gracefully inhabit a quiet revolution,” amidst the civil rights movement and the 1957 demise of his groundbreaking national television series. We invited Hill to expand on this sentiment and to share how Cole’s presence as the first African American performer to host a variety television series remains significant today.
Actor Dulé Hill on Nat ‘King’ Cole’s “quiet revolution.” Filmed at People’s Light on December 1, 2017.
Dulé Hill is an actor 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. Hill’s stage credits include the Tony-nominated musical After Midnight (Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre), Stick Fly (Broadway’s Cort Theatre), Black and Blue (Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre), and Amiri Baraka’s Obie award-winning play Dutchman (Cherry Lane Theatre). He has been nominated for four NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on USA’s Psych, a role he revived in the recent film Psych: The Movie (2017).
Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole made its West Coast debut at Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in 2019, with Hill reprising his role as the titular musician. This work was developed and produced through a Project grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The play had its world premiere at People's Light in Malvern, PA in fall of 2017.