Death of a King: with Tavis Smiley Added to Walton Arts Center’s 2017-18 Season

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, December 1, 2017 – Broadcaster and best-selling author Tavis Smiley is bringing his theatrical performance, Death of a King, to Walton Arts Center Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 at 7 pm. This multimedia stage presentation, sponsored by Walmart, commemorates the upcoming 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

Tickets are available now and can be obtained in-person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, by calling 479.443.5600 or by visiting Tickets are free, but a service fee of $5 per order will apply to any online or telephone orders. Patrons are limited to four tickets per order. 

Tavis Smiley narrates this joyful tribute that tells the little-known story of Dr. King’s final year. Against all the odds and with his popularity in deep decline, King summoned the courage, conviction, commitment and character to bring a message of peace, equality and justice to a bitterly divided nation. Joining Smiley will be renowned jazz pianist, Marcus Roberts, a modern piano genius who will perform stirring, original compositions. Tony Award®-winning Broadway and film director Kenny Leon (A Raisin In The Sun, The Mountaintop, August Wilson’s Fences) serves as creative consultant for the show.

This stage presentation brings together elements of visual imagery and live music with eloquent prose, declaring the truth of the impact that one man's integrity and faith in humanity had on the American people – and people across the globe. A truth as timely today as it was 50 years ago.

“In our current political climate, Death Of A King represents a narrative shift that’s not just about the normal discussion of left versus right or conservative versus liberal, but really a reset of our deepest values,” said Tavis Smiley. “Dr. King said in 1968 that we needed a revolution of values, and 50 years later, Death Of A King aims to reunite America with its best self.”

The book Death of A King is a New York Times best seller and is being developed as a television series with Emmy Award®-winner J.J. Abrams and Smiley, in partnership with Warner Bros. Television. Smiley’s PBS late-night talk show, Tavis Smiley is currently in its 14th successful season.

For additional information about this unique event, visit

Walton Arts Center is Arkansas’ largest and busiest performing arts presenter. Each year more than 195,000 people from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma and beyond attend more than 400 public events at Walton Arts Center, including performances, rehearsals, community gatherings, receptions, weddings and more. Approximately 45,000 students and teachers participate annually in arts learning programs at Walton Arts Center, and almost 200 volunteers donate 21,000 hours of time each year to its operations. Walton Arts Center presents entertainers and artists from around the world including Broadway musicals, renowned dance companies, international artists, up-and-coming jazz musicians and more. As a non-profit organization, Walton Arts Center enjoys the generous support of public sector funding, corporate sponsorship and private donors, allowing audience members to pay on average only 45% of the cost of programs offered. To learn more about Walton Arts Center, visit