August Wilson

Netflix

Our film critic Harlan Jacobson got the Blues this Christmas by dropping in on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the new film based on an August Wilson play from 1984.

The film is produced by Netflix, which is in the holiday audience and Oscar hunt.  

HJ: Just the sound of the title, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, as it rolls off the tongue, promises some kind of lusty commitment to a life of defiance, like we’re in for a wild ride in a convertible careening out of control. 

Radio Golf
Yurik L. Lozano

Obie Award-winning actor and director Brandon J. Dirden (King Hedley II, Seven Guitars) returns to Two River Theater in Red Bank, N.J., to direct the theater's sixth production from playwright August Wilson's The American Century Cycle.

Radio Golf is the Cycle's 10th and final play, set in 1997 in Pittsburgh's Hill District. It will run from Feb. 29 through March 22 at Two River's Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater in Red Bank, N.J.

King Hedley II
Two River Theater for WBGO

The year is 1985. King Hedley II has returned from prison looking to rebuild his life, save some money, plant a backyard garden, and start a family.  This production is the halfway mark of Two River Theater presenting the 10 plays of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle.

WBGO News Director Doug Doyle chats with two of the stars of King Hedley II, Harvy Blanks (Elmore) and Charlie Hudson III (Mister).

Obie Award-winner Brandon J. Dirden (A Raisin in the Sun, August Wilson’s Jitney) directs.

Jitney
Brandon J. Dirden for WBGO News

August Wilson's legacy has been never been more on display in our area.  WBGO's Doug Doyle reports more people are starting to realize the greatest of the late playwright through recent movies and local theater productions.

August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations. 

Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis.

Television and Broadway star Michael Potts has the audience sighing and laughing as Turnbo, who can't help sticking his nose into everybody's business:

August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations. 

Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis. 

Brandon J. Dirden, who plays Booster in the two-act play, has performed in several August Wilson productions and directed Seven Guitars:

August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations. 

Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis.  That's also where Shealy, portrayed by veteran actor Harvy Blanks, runs his numbers game.

Blanks who lights up the stage with his acting and wardrobe: