This is a past event.

County of Kings: the beautiful struggle 

When: Fri., May 27, 7 p.m., Sat., May 28, 7 p.m., Sun., May 29, 7 p.m. and Mon., May 30, 7 p.m. 2011
Phone: (843) 722-2764
Price: $32
www.spoletousa.org

Hip-hop autobiography. County of Kings: The Beautiful Struggle is Lemon Andersen's version of a memoir. Though unlike other Spoleto one-man shows, his is told through hip-hop and poetry. It shouldn't be a surprise coming from a guy that won a Tony for his work with Def Poetry Jam on Broadway.

Do the right thing. You think you'd be a little nervous if you were performing your show for one of the first times and Spike Lee was in the audience. Not for Andersen. "It took the pressure off," he says. Lee, who Andersen worked with on Inside Man and Sucker Free City, decided to back the project. From there on out, things got very easy for Andersen. "Spike saved my career with that show."

Out of the pigeonhole. "People always think one thing because they hear hip-hop and they hear poetry," Andersen says. "... My audience is not me." He understands that he's typically performing for people 25 to 30 years older than him, and who tend to come from a very different background. With his show, he's trying to break stereotypes, and he hopes he can give answers to questions about the New York City culture he grew up in.

— Susan Cohen

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