Lemon Andersen is a wordsmith who thinks deeply about the sounds of syllables.
Lemon Andersen is a poet, spoken word artist and actor. He first garnered national attention appearing in Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway in 2002, which won a Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event and netted Andersen a Drama Desk nomination for his writing. Andersen also appeared in eight episodes of HBO’s ode to spoken word, Def Poetry.
Over the past decade, he has performed in venues across the country, from New York’s Nuyorican Poets Café to Hollywood’s Kodak Theater. He has appeared in four Spike Lee films and was the subject of the documentary Lemon, a look at his journey from two-time felon to bold-faced name -- and how leaving one’s past behind just isn’t that simple.
Most recently, Spike Lee produced Andersen’s one-man play County of Kings at The Public Theater in New York City. Since its premiere in 2009, the play has been staged on three continents, to rave reviews. The script was awarded the New York Book Festival’s Grand Prize.
Anderson's newest work, ToasT, was commissioned by the Sundance Institute and will be staged at The Public Theater in 2013.
"Mr. Andersen has a distinctive talent that makes words sing in ways that insist you listen. But it’s the drive that makes him glow. 'Watch me,' he demands, in the first sentence of County of Kings. He guarantees that you do."Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“[My] hunger and thirst was, and still remains: How do I get people who hate poetry to love me?”
“[I've] learned how to pull the mic away and attack the poetry with my body.”
“When you went to a privileged school to learn a Shakespearean sonnet, I was getting those beats kicked and shoved into me.”
“You think black entertainers have it hard finding work in this business? I'm a suspicious mulatto, which means I'm too black to be white and too white to be doing it right.”