WaterTower Theatre Announces Natalie King as new "A Raisin in the Sun" Director its dedication In Memory of Phyllis Cicero

WaterTower Theatre Announces Natalie King as the new director of A Raisin in the Sun and the dedication of the production In Memory of Phyllis Cicero

Addison (TX) – The final show of WaterTower Theatre’s 25th Season is A Raisin in the Sun, the play that changed American Theatre forever, by the revolutionary author & playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Her life was one of firsts: the black female playwright to be produced on Broadway with this show in 1959 & the first black playwright and at only 29, the youngest American ever to win a New York Critics’ Circle Award. A Raisin in the Sun is also one of very few shows in the history of Broadway to have not one, but two Tony award-winning revivals.

This American classic was initially scheduled for an April 2021 run, but was rescheduled for later in the season to protect it from cancellations due to the pandemic. The new production dates are September 1-11, 2021, and it will be the final production of WaterTower’s 25th anniversary season.

As the pandemic progressed over the last year, both Shane Peterman & Elizabeth Kensek held conversations with artists, directors, and creatives as the state of different shows changed. Many conversations were had with Miss Phyllis Cicero, the original director of A Raisin in the Sun. Her optimism, endless passion, and creativity always triumphed. From Elizabeth Kensek, “Miss Cicero could make me laugh until I cried even on the most stressful of days & was ever evolving her artistic vision for the production to make sure that the production would be informed by the current state of our world.”

The theater community lost Miss Cicero in February of this year. She was an incredible woman, mother, friend, and a lifelong theater educator who has indelibly left a mark on so many of us, which is why WaterTower Theatre is dedicating this production of A Raisin in the Sun to her. And in the hope of further honoring Miss Cicero’s legacy, WTT is pleased to announce that Natalie King, a fellow lifelong Dallas actor, director & arts educator will be stepping into the role of Director for this production. This will be King’s WaterTower directorial debut. “When facing the emotional task of searching for a new director for this production, it became immediately clear who could valiantly fulfill this role, all while keeping Miss Cicero’s legacy in mind best when Elizabeth and I were reviewing potential candidates for this job”, says Shane Peterman Producing Artistic Director. “When discussing Natalie King, we saw the same love of theater and passion for molding future artists, that reminded me so much of Phyllis. I have no doubt that this production will be beautifully realized under Miss King’s leadership.”

Natalie King is an accomplished actor, director, and teacher here in the Dallas Ft Worth area. After beginning her career as an actor, she fell in love with the art of storytelling. She created a performance company called Universal Connection which toured dozens of elementary schools in Dallas and Mesquite with Young Audiences.

Her gift for storytelling was noticed by a casting director at Walt Disney World. King became the first African American Storytelling character at Walt Disney World and one of the few performers of color as they experimented with the programming for Walt Disney World's newest park, the Animal Kingdom. After several months as a Storyteller, King was asked to create a storytelling show to be performed exclusively for Walt Disney World's American Express Gold Club Members.

When 9/11 gutted the tourist industry, King returned to Dallas to begin a journey into the field of arts education. To her surprise, she was good at it. The teaching job that was supposed to be a pit stop became a second career. She became the theatre director at South Oak Cliff High School and in 7 years transformed the SOC theatre department from vandalized sets and spontaneous fighting to award-winning one-acts and full-blown musicals. She is now the Theatre Director at Skyline High School.

King’s passion for teaching came naturally as she is a third-generation educator. Although her paternal great grandmother was a slave until she was thirteen years old and had no opportunity to get a formal education, three of her ten children became ministers or spiritual educators. King's maternal family members were mostly educators. Her grandmother Laura earned three degrees and taught during the 1930s and 1940s, and her mother, Gloria King, earned three degrees and began her career as an English Teacher in an all-white school in the 1960s. King's aunt, Dr. Evelyn E. Thornton, was head of the Math Dept. at the historically Black, Prairie View A&M University for fifty years. There was no escaping the fact that the art of teaching was in her blood.

King, however, never stopped performing and directing, even while running a High school theatre program. King believes that there is no better way to speak your truth than the theatre and feels blessed to do what she loves.

King graduated from the Theater Cluster at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She continued her education at Stephens College in Columbia, MO, where she earned a BFA in Theater Performance and a minor in Playwriting. In addition to a rich career as an actor, storyteller, and teacher, King's work as a director has been seen on DFW stages such as the South Dallas Cultural Center, Deep Ellum, Soul Rep & The Circle Theatre in Ft Worth.

Single tickets are on sale now and availability is very limited due to social distanced seating guidelines.

This production will be staged on the Terry Martin Main Stage at the Addison Theatre Centre at 15650 Addison Road, Addison, Texas 75001.

For more information on WaterTower Theatre and upcoming productions, visit us online at www.watertowertheatre.org or call the Box Office at 972.450.6232.


  • Pay-What-You-Can performances will be the first Saturday matinee of each run.
  • ASL Interpreted Performances will continue to be the final Thursday performance of every run.

How/Where to Buy Tickets: Online: www.WaterTowerTheatre.org By Phone: 972.450.6232 Fax: 972.450.6244 Email: box@watertowertheatre.org

Box Office Hours

Monday - Friday: 12p.m. to 6p.m.

Saturday & Sunday: Closed

About WaterTower Theatre

Founded in 1996, WaterTower Theatre (WTT) is one of Texas' leading professional theatre companies and one of the flagship arts institutions in North Texas, having played an important role as a leader in developing new talent and encouraging the growth of the DFW artistic community through its commitment to hiring local artists. In March of 2019, Shane Peterman joined WTT in his current leadership position as Producing Artistic Director. WaterTower Theatre is consistently recognized for its artistic excellence by the Dallas Theatre League, DFW Theatre Critics Forum, The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Observer, D Magazine, The Column, and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, among others. WaterTower Theatre has a subscription base of more than 1,100 subscribers and serves an audience of over 24,000 patrons annually.

WaterTower Theatre is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, that relies on its ticket income and generous donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government organizations to produce world-class live professional theatre and to offer community engagement and arts education programs. WaterTower Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of the Town of Addison, The Civic League, The Shubert Foundation, TACA, Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. WaterTower Theatre’s current 2020 -2021 season is also supported, in part, through the generosity of its many civic, corporate, and foundation donors including AMLI Residential Addison, FASTSIGNS Carrollton, Guaranty Bank, ONCOR, and individual donors Don and Barbara Daseke, The Bob Downs Family, Stan Graner and Jim McBride, Phillip and Janeva Longacre, Kathy Messina and Gary Goodwin, Janiece and Jimmy Niemann, Karol Omlor, Jack and Libby Swindle, Deborah and Craig Sutton, and Ron and Donna Whitehead.