Kingdom

music by Ian Williams, book and lyrics by Aaron Jafferis

An underground organization sweeps through the streets of a sick city, breathing life into lost souls. Andres and Juan are swept up by the group’s populist ideals and by-any-means-necessary survival tactics. When a sudden attack ignites a bitter internal battle between ideals and survival, three flawed heroes wrestle for control. An epic story of hope, conscience, filial loyalty, and identity shoots though a hip hop / rock / Latin score into the flesh of the American now.

 

 

“Bracingly taut… witty and intelligent… dramatically denounces street violence even as it demonstrates the ability of rap and hip-hop to make successful musical theatre.”
– BackStage

“Critic’s Choice. Raw… hard-hitting… a passionate but sober-minded plea against the kind of self-perpetuating violence that leaves young people in the grave and others to grieve (and feed their grievances). Rap, Latin sounds and razor-edged rock tap into pure blasts of emotion, like a needle dropped straight on the brain. A bold step forward for the Globe.”
– San Diego Union-Tribune

“A potent new hip-hop musical. If Rent captured the hopes, dreams and frustrations of the 20something generation in the ’90s, then Kingdom may be well on its way to chronicling the struggles of today’s inner-city youth. Raw, hard-hitting and sometimes funny, Kingdom is reaching a young audience with language and music they can connect with viscerally.”
– North County Times

“Innovatively intelligent… sobering, unflinching… the score is the first I’ve experienced to make a viable case for rap and hip-hop as theatre music… Jafferis and Williams are worthy musical inheritors of Shakespeare’s legacy.”
– TalkinBroadway.com

“Compelling and brutally uncomfortable… complex and poetic… I sat in the theatre wanting to walk on the other side of the street to avoid the ugliness and danger and difference. I wanted to pretend that my life was prettier. But I realize, a day later, that my resistance and arrogance only perpetuates more oppression of these inhabitants of my city, my street, my home.”
– nytheatre.com

“The story of Juan – the whole story of Kingdom – pivots on a simple truth about the paradoxes of the human heart. For those growing up in unforgiving environments, expressions of love or kindness risk being seen as weakness. But it’s that very openness, Kingdom says, that’s needed to break the cycle of such environments. And to extend that idea, that loving – which is in part about vulnerability – is not weakness but strength. It takes strength to love oneself and to love other people. Enough strength, maybe, to stop a bullet.”
– San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “The invigorating, near-Shakespearean rap drama Kingdom... [is] innovatively intelligent…sobering, unflinching. The score is the first I’ve experienced to make a viable case for rap and hip-hop as theatre music… Jafferis and Williams are worthy musical inheritors of Shakespeare’s legacy.” – TalkinBroadway.com
  • About Aaron

    Aaron Jafferis is a hip hop poet and playwright. Read his bio, his CV, or contact him.