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Henry and Colquhoun to play legends in One Night in Miami

Published: 10 May 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

Matt Henry, who won an Olivier Award for best actor in a musical in 2016, will play Sam Cooke and Christopher Colquhoun will take the role of Malcolm X in the UK regional première of Kemp Powers’s One Night in Miami… at Nottingham Playhouse.

Henry won best actor in a musical in 2016 for his portrayal of Lola / Simon in Kinky Boots by Harvey Fierstein with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and based on the motion picture by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth.

A fictional account based on true events, One Night in Miami… focuses on four friends who are all on the cusp of becoming legends: newly crowned heavyweight champion Cassius Clay (Conor Glean), activist Malcolm X, American football star turned actor Jim Brown (Miles Yekinni) and soul singer Sam Cooke.

The play is set in 1964 during the civil rights movement. In a Miami hotel room, the men celebrate Clay’s title win. Powers’s drama speculates what might have taken place as the black icons tease one another, have arguments about race and power and share their dreams of a better life for all.

Completing the cast, Oseloka Obi and Nottingham actor Andre Squire play members of the Nation of Islam’s security troop, protecting the four men against the realities of the world outside the motel room.

Matthew Xia returns to Nottingham Playhouse after directing Shebeen by Mufaro Makubika in 2018.

He said, “One Night in Miami… lets us into that historic room where we get to see these icons as friends and allies in the civil rights movement. It explores the responsibilities that come with being a successful black man in 1964 America and how those conversations resonate today.

“The evening is full of laughter, bonhomie between brothers and a fair bit of tension as they work out what the next steps are for the movement and how best to lift an entire people!

“Audiences can expect amazing music from the era including Sam Cooke’s anthemic ‘A Change is Gonna Come’.”

One Night in Miami… runs at Nottingham Playhouse from Friday 7 until Saturday 22 June. It will tour to Bristol Old Vic from 25 until 29 June and HOME Manchester from 2 until 5 July.