Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole


By Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor
Directed by Patricia McGregor
Spring 2025

2024/25 Season

Read Synopsis

Despite being the voice that built Capitol Records, Nat “King” Cole’s groundbreaking NBC variety show faced cancellation as they could not find a sponsor. Now, on the night of his final broadcast, Nat must decide whether to quietly step out of the spotlight, or, as his friend Sammy Davis Jr. urges, “go out with a bang.” Tony and Academy Award nominee Colman Domingo (Rustin) and NYTW Usual Suspect and Artistic Director Patricia McGregor (The Refuge Plays) bring us this electrifying exploration of the soul of an American icon who fought to break through America’s color barrier in the early days of television. Starring Emmy Award nominee Dulé Hill (“The West Wing,” “Psych”) as Nat “King” Cole and Tony nominee Daniel J. Watts (The Refuge Plays, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical) as Sammy Davis Jr., Lights Out features Nat’s hit songs, like “Nature Boy,” “It’s a Good Day,” “Smile” and “Unforgettable.”

Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole was originally commissioned and produced by People’s Light, Malvern, PA (Abigail Adams, Artistic Director/CEO; Ellen Anderson, General Manager/CFO; Zak Berkman, Producing Director).

The original development and premiere of Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole was supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and produced by Geffen Playhouse (Matt Shakman, Artistic Director; Gil Cates, Jr., Executive Director).

  • Nat “King” Cole

    Dulé Hill recently starred as the patriarch Bill Williams in ABC’s Peabody Award-winning reimagining of “The Wonder Years,” for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. Hill can currently be seen in the PBS docu-series “The Express Way with Dulé Hill” for which he also serves as an executive producer alongside his producing partner Jazmyn Simon under their production company Simon Says Hill. Also seen in the Netflix film “Hypnotic” and opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anne Hathaway in the HBO Max heist film “Locked Down; Dulé previously portrayed the role of Alex Williams in the USA Network drama “Suits,” recurred in the second season of SHOWTIME’s “Black Monday” with Don Cheadle and Regina Hall and appeared in HBO’s “Ballers” with Dwayne Johnson. For eight seasons he portrayed the role of Burton ‘Gus’ Guster in the USA Network comedy “Psych,” for which he also served as a producer. Hill revived his role in the films Psych: The Movie, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home and Psych 3: This Is Gus, for PEACOCK. In 1999, Dulé joined the cast of NBC’s acclaimed series “The West Wing,” as Charlie Young, personal aide to the President. Running for seven seasons, Dulé 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. Stage credits include Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor’s Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole at the People’s Light and the Geffen Playhouse, the Tonynominated musicals Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, After Midnight and the Alicia Keysproduced play Stick Fly on Broadway. As well as the national tour of The Tap Dance Kid alongside Harold Nicholas of the legendary Nicholas Brothers.

  • Sammy Davis Jr.

    Daniel J. Watts is a Tony and Emmy nominated multidisciplinary artist. He has performed in 10 Broadway shows including: Tina (Ike Turner, Tony Nominee); Freestyle Love Supreme; Hamilton; After Midnight; Motown; Ghost; In the Heights; Memphis; The Little Mermaid; The Color Purple. Off-Broadway: The Refuge Plays (Roundabout & NYTW); Richard III (Delacorte) The Last of The Love Letters (Atlantic); The Death of the Last Back Man in the Whole Entire World (Signature); Whorl Inside a Loop (2ST). TV: “Werewolf By Night” (Disney+); “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon); “The Last OG” (TBS); “Vinyl” (HBO); “The Deuce” (HBO); “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO); “Blindspot” (CBS); “Blue Bloods” (CBS); “Broad City” (Comedy Central). Daniel recently wrapped the first season of the highly-anticipated HBO series “Penguin” alongside Colin Farrell which continues the epic crime saga Matt Reeves began with The Batman. He can currently be seen in Season 6 of the Paramount+ series “The Chi.” Original Work: Daniel J. Watts’ The Jam: Only Child 2020 (Public Theatre Under The Radar Festival; streamed as part of the DC Signature Theater 2020-2021 season); TED talk “To Accomplish Great Things, You Need to Let Paint Dry” appears at Artist in residence at ASU Gammage, contributing artist for Armstrong Now with the The Louis Armstrong House, and NYU Tisch New Studio adjunct professor. Co-lyricist/co-choreographer for new La Jolla Playhouse musical 3 Summers of Lincoln.  @dwattswords

Colman Domingo / Co-Writer

Colman Domingo made his British and Australian theatrical debuts with his self penned solo play A Boy and His Soul  at the Tricycle Theater and Brisbane Powerhouse Theaters, the production which originated at the New York City’s stalwart the Vineyard Theatre. He starred in his play Wild with Happy that had its debut at the Public Theater. His fourth play Dot premiered at the Humana Festival at Actors Theater of Louisville and premiered Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre directed by the legendary Tony award winner Susan Stroman. Dot is enjoying regional productions around the country and is published by Samuel French. As a theatre director, Domingo has helmed at the People’s Light Theatre, Huntington Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Actors Theater of Louisville and Berkeley Repertory Theater. This fall, Domingo will be seen as the lead in the limited series “The Madness” created  by Clement Virgo for Netflix. He is also currently in production on Michael playing Joe Jackson, directed by Antoine Fuqua. Lionsgate will release the film April 25th, 2025.

Patricia McGregor / Director & Co-Writer

Born in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Patricia McGregor is the Artistic Director of New York Theatre Workshop, as well as a director and writer working in theatre, film, dance and music. McGregor has twice been profiled by The New York Times for her direction of world premieres. She was inaugural Artist in Residence for Adam Driver’s Arts in the Armed Forces and an Old Globe Resident Artist. Her productions include The Refuge Plays (Roundabout & NYTW); Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole (co-writer and director; Geffen Playhouse, People’s Light); Sisters in Law (Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts); Shakespeare: Call and Response, Krapp’s Last Tape, What You Are, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Measure for Measure (The Old Globe); Skeleton Crew (Geffen Playhouse); Good Grief (Center Theatre Group); Hamlet (The Public Theater); Place (Brooklyn Academy of Music); The Parchman Hour (Guthrie Theater); Ugly Lies the Bone (Roundabout Theatre Company); brownsville song (Lincoln Center Theater); Indomitable: James Brown (Apollo Theater); Holding It Down (The Metropolitan Museum of Art); A Raisin in the Sun, The Winter’s Tale and Spunk (California Shakespeare Theater); Adoration of the Old Woman (INTAR Theatre); Blood Dazzler (Harlem Stage); Four Electric Ghosts (The Kitchen); and the world premiere of Hurt Village (Signature Theatre Company).