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  Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole Reviews
Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole
Lights Out: Nat

Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole
Geffen Playhouse
Thru - Mar 24, 2019

Show Information

Geffen Playhouse

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Stage and Cinema- Recommended

"...When I started getting sick of those flashing applause signs egging us on, I surmised it must be intentional. Are the creators forcing us to behave on cue so we empathize with Cole? Yet the signs flashed after outstanding numbers, too. Ugh. I'm done trying to figure it out. Forget about the story. Go for the memory of Nat "King" Cole. Stay for the entertainment and 19 remarkable songs. Continue to fight racism."
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Tony Frankel

Stage Scene LA- Highly Recommended

"...The impending live broadcast of the 42nd and final episode of network TV's first black-hosted variety show becomes an existential nightmare for its celebrated star in Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor's Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole, a Geffen Playhouse West Coast premiere not without its problems but one well worth catching, and not just for the drama-song-and-dance showcase it provides its triple-threat star Dule Hill."
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Steven Stanley

Total Theater- Somewhat Recommended

"...The slap-dash nature of Domingo and McGregor's script detracts from the essential strength of the show: Hill's performance as Cole. His versions of "Nature Boy," "Mona Lisa," and "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (written by Cole, by the way) are on the money. Some of the other songs (sung by Kitt, Hutton, Lee) light up the stage as well. But each time a musical number works, the frantic, over-the- top story kills what follows."
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Willard Manus

Culver City News- Recommended

"...Perhaps the only shortcoming is the book, which I found a bit confusing as I could never really figure out what was really taking place or just in Cole's mind as he pondered how to "go out with a bang" per the advice of his friend. But even so, this show will continue to be a hit for its extraordinary musical talent and moving tribute to one of the best crooners whose brilliance will continue to entertain forever via his recordings."
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Shari Barrett

Santa Monica Daily Press- Recommended

"...Sadly Nat "King" Cole, who's almost never seen without a cigarette in this production, died of lung cancer in 1965 at age 45 at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. This is the centennial year of his birth; and on February 13, Congressman Adam Schiff introduced a proclamation into the Congressional Record paying tribute to his career and accomplishments, as a "lesson in success despite adversity, the triumph of respect, talent and civility coupled with cultural, business and political savvy.""
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Sarah A. Spitz

Stage Raw- Recommended

"...Hill, who resembles Cole, seemed to me more an anchor for the production than an illuminating star; while he looks like Cole, he's a capable singer, not a great one. Where Hill shines is in the terrific tap dance duos he performs with Watts' Sammy Davis Jr. Watts compels whenever he's on stage. Other highlights include Love's powerhouse rendering of "Orange Colored Sky," Gisela Asida as a sizzling Eartha Kitt, and a glamorous Ruby Lewis as both Betty Hutton and Peggy Lee."
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Deborah Klugman

Haines His Way- Recommended

"...Dule Hill gives a commanding performance as Cole, looking and sounding like the star in his prime. Most of the singer's big hits get some play, in full or in part, by either Hill or one of the many other fine singers in the cast. Gisela Adisa scorches the stage as the one and only Eartha Kitt while Ruby Lewis does a great job as both Betty Hutton and Peggy Lee. Daniel J. Watts is a dynamo as Davis and his tap dancing duel with Hill is the show's highpoint. The writing gets heavy handed as the show progresses and could use some smoothing out. The direction also needs to be clarified. The performers are ready; give them the material to really sell this story."
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Rob Stevens

On Stage Blog- Recommended

"...Coming out of Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole you will understand more about the difficulties black performers face. This show will not have you leaving with a spring in your step, but with sorrow for the injustice, people continue to suffer."
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Jill Weinlein