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Two More Weeks of August Wilson Events

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015

Two weeks remain to see Two Trains Running plus four readings of August Wilson’s plays in the Goodman’s Citywide Celebration of the late playwright

An April 11-13 Summit Weekend for African American Artists and Educators Culminates in a “Black Theater in America” Panel on Monday, April 13

CHICAGO, IL – Two weeks filled with special events and programs remain in Goodman Theatre’s citywide celebration of the late playwright known as “America’s Shakespeare”—August Wilson. Two Trains Running, the Celebration’s centerpiece production directed by Chuck Smith, has been extended to April 19; still to come are script-in-hand readings of The Piano Lesson (April 4), Radio Golf (April 6), Jitney (April 14) and King Hedley II (April 18). Two panel discussions remain—August Wilson in St. Paul (April 7) and August Wilson in New York (April 12). For ticket reservations for the free Celebration events, visit The August Wilson Celebration; to purchase tickets for Two Trains Running ($37-$79) call 312.443.3800 or visit GoodmanTheatre.org/TwoTrains.

Smith has summoned leading artists and educators from African American theater companies and Historic Black Colleges and Universities for a weekend discussion of the state of black theater in America—and including August Wilson’s work in the schools’ curricula—April 11-13. The weekend culminates in a public panel discussion on April 13 about the history, achievements and current challenges in the theater. Congo Square Theatre Company presents the panel, which includes Ekundayo Bandele, Hattiloo Theatre; Sarah Bellamy, Penumbra Theater; Lydia R. Diamond, Playwright; Ron OJ Parson, Director; Derrick Sanders, Director; Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theatre. Tickets are free, but reservations are required: 312.443.3800 or GoodmanTheatre.org.

CONCERT READINGS (FREE)

The Piano Lesson | Saturday, April 4 | 2pm at Evanston Public Library (1703 Orrington Ave.)
Presented by Fleetwood-Jourdain, Directed by Aaron Todd Douglas
Reserve tickets: 847.448.8620 or EPL.org/pianolesson

Wilson’s Depression-era drama pits Boy Willie against his sister, Berniece, when he appears at her Hill District home with plans for their family heirloom piano. Berniece hopes to pass its legacy on to her young daughter, while Boy Willie hopes to sell it and use the money to build a new life. Ghosts from the family’s troubled past emerge as brother and sister clash over the piano’s future.

Radio Golf | Monday, April 6 | 7pm at Court Theatre (5535 S. Ellis Ave.)
Presented by Court Theatre, Directed by Ron OJ Parson
Reserve tickets: 773.753.4472 | CourtTheatre.org

Steeped in the spirits and dreams of the past, Radio Golf tells the story of Harmond Wilks, an ambitious real estate developer whose plans for a slick new venture will likely make him Pittsburgh’s first black mayor. Everything proceeds smoothly until the arrival of a mysterious stranger forces Wilks to reconsider his path to (and definition of) success. Wilson’s final work for the stage, Radio Golf marks a triumphant conclusion to his extraordinary “20th Century Cycle.”

Jitney | Tuesday, April 14 | 7pm at South Shore Cultural Center (7059 S. South Shore Dr.)
Presented by eta Creative Arts Foundation, Directed by Kamesha Khan
Reserve tickets: 708.926.4641

August Wilson’s first play, demonstrating his gift for capturing the rhythms and power of language, Jitney provides a window into the world of Pittsburgh’s jitney cab drivers. Becker manages the cab station where Turnbo, Youngblood, Fielding and Doub struggle to make ends meet and work their way out of hustling Pittsburgh’s streets. But the unexpected twists and turns of life work against the men, complicating their escape from the jitney station.

King Hedley II | Saturday, April 18 | 2pm at DuSable Museum (740 E. 56th Pl.)
Presented by Congo Square Theatre Company, Directed by Daniel Bryant
Reserve tickets: 773.296.1108 | CongoSquareTheatre.org

The eighth play in Wilson’s “20th Century Cycle,” King Hedley II paints a vivid, almost operatic portrait of a neighborhood struggling to come to terms with the harsh realities of life in the mid-1980s. After his release from prison, King Hedley II, son to the troubled Hedley of Wilson’s Seven Guitars, returns home to find himself humiliated by his father’s memory. Adrift in the face-paced era of Reaganomics, his attempts to lift himself out of the poverty-stricken Hill District do more harm than good.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS

August Wilson in St. Paul, MN | Tuesday, April 7 | 12noon at Northwestern University (1949 Campus Dr.)
Moderated by Lou Bellamy
Reserve tickets: Wirtz.Northwestern.edu/Special_Events

Before beginning work on his “20th Century Cycle” and establishing himself as one of the United States’ leading writers, Wilson worked in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lou Bellamy, founding Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre and an early collaborator with Wilson, leads a conversation with theater professionals and scholars about Wilson’s early career as an unknown playwright.

August Wilson in New York | Sunday, April 12 | 6pm at Goodman Theatre (170 N. Dearborn St.)
Presented by Goodman Theatre
Moderated by Woodie King, Jr.
Reserve tickets: 312.443.3800 | GoodmanTheatre.org
Woodie King, Jr., founder of the New Federal Theatre and friend and colleague of August Wilson, has produced and championed African American theater for decades. Leading a public discussion with friends and colleagues, King shares memories of Wilson’s life and work in New York—and the influence Wilson had on a new generation of theater artists.

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