NEW YORK — You think you know Martin Luther King Jr.’s story? Tavis Smiley is willing to bet you don’t.

To mark the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination next April, the radio and TV host is planning a nationwide tour of a theatrical production focusing on the last year of King’s life, a time when he was reviled by some for expanding his critique of America beyond its racism to poverty issues and the Vietnam War.

“I don’t want this anniversary to come and go without people finally coming to terms with wrestling with who Martin Luther King really was,” Smiley said Wednesday, the day before the official announcement of the production.

“Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience” is based on Smiley’s 2014 book of the same title. Smiley will narrate from his book, and will be accompanied by jazz pianist Marcus Roberts.

The production will travel to 40 cities still to be determined. It is set to kick off Jan. 15, the day of the national holiday named for King and his actual birthday, and run through April 4, the anniversary of the day he was fatally shot while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.

King’s last year, from the time he gave his powerful “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” speech on April 4, 1967, was an incredibly difficult one, Smiley points out, with critiques coming from all sides over his anti-war stance. Polls at the time showed the majority of the country looking at him unfavorably.

“He has a headwind like nobody’s business, yet he stands in his truth, he never backs down,” Smiley said.

The production will use live music, videos and photos.

– From news service reports