Nat King Cole Takes the Stage

Tonight is the world premiere of Penumbra Theatre’s <em>I Wish You Love</em>.

Frank Sinatra was ‘Ol Blue Eyes, Bing Crosby was The Crooner, and Nat “King” Cole was, well, the King. And for good reason: his smooth voice and mad piano skills reigned supreme during the 1950s and ’60s, producing songs like “Unforgettable” that still rack up significant air time on the radio.

The pioneer of jazz trios without a drummer and tunes that blended swing with rock ’n’ roll (“Send for Me”) also had a weekly, 15-minute variety show that aired on NBC in 1957. It’s there that I Wish You Love, a Dominic Taylor production being staged for the first time at St. Paul’s Penumbra Theatre, takes root. The play is a drama with music, written and staged in a way to show the real Cole as well as portray the spirit of the nation during this tumultuous era.

The powerful script as well as Dennis W. Spears’s much anticipated portrayal of Cole (Spears sings more than 20 of Cole’s songs throughout the performance) have already created a buzz here in the Twin Cities—shows for tonight, Friday, and Saturday are sold out. I Wish You Love will also travel to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. from June 11–19, 2011.

A chance to experience a chapter of our nation’s history—including some of the most beloved and iconic songs of that time—I Wish You Love, like Cole’s famous song, will likely be “unforgettable.”

April 21–May 22, 2011
Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul