Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

King of the Hill 

Karamu stages a downer of a play about the '80s.

August Wilson’s King Hedley II, opening tonight at Karamu House, is set in Pittsburgh’s economically depressed Hill District. But director Caroline Jackson-Smith says the play could easily be transported to one of Cleveland’s decaying neighborhoods. She says she has to look no further than the crumbling structures she sees on her way to the theater every day. “There were some very deliberate things done to Pittsburgh that sucked the life out of the district,” she says.

King Hedley II -- the eighth work in Wilson’s 10-play cycle about blacks in 20th-century America -- focuses on a group of characters living in the Hill in 1985, when Reaganomics and crack plagued the onetime cultural center. The title character spends much of the play trying to make ends meet. Others search for forgiveness amid disappointment, violence, and a social shift. “Although rap music is never mentioned in the play,” says Smith, “you can feel that rhythm bubbling up from the heated frustrations of African Americans who have never been extended the dream of America.”
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: May 25. Continues through June 17

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Speaking of Highlights

More by Sean Ammerman

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation