August Wilson (April 27, 1945-October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of the descendants of Africans brought to North America, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century.
These plays form a compilation entitled The American Century Cycle. His plays have been produced on Broadway, at regional theaters across the country and all over the world. In 2003, Mr. Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned, currently touring and featuring Eugene Lee reprising Mr. Wilson’s role. His works garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987); and for The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, as well as seven New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, and Jitney. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson’s early works included the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming, and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills. Mr. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, the Whiting Writers Award, 2003 Heinz Award, and was awarded the 1999 National Humanities Medal by President Bill Clinton, and received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and on October 16, 2005, Broadway renamed the theater located at 245 West 52nd Street – The August Wilson Theatre. Today, he is considered one of America’s Finest Playwrights, and is also one of the most produced. New York Public Radio recorded all ten plays in The American Century Cycle at the Greene Space, casting many of the actors that worked on the original productions. PBS aired a documentary on Mr. Wilson entitled, “The Ground On Which I Stand,” as part of the American Masters series. In December of 2016, a full feature film of August Wilson’s Fences will be released. Mr. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lived in Seattle, Washington at the time of his death in 2005. He is immediately survived by his two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero, who is the executor of his estate.
Tony and Obie Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson recently directed the world premieres of Dominique Morriseau’s Skeleton Crew at the Atlantic Theater and Paradise Blue at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Mr. Santiago-Hudson won a Tony when he starred in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars on Broadway and later went on to direct the play himself to high praise. Other directing credits include The Piano Lesson, The First Breeze of Summer, Cabin in the Sky and many more. The multi-award-winning director and actor wrote, executive produced and starred in the HBO film “Lackawanna Blues,” based on his award-winning play. It received several honors, including Emmy, Golden Globe, Humanitas, National Board of Review and Christopher awards. Ruben stars alongside Anika Noni Rose in BET’s new drama “The Quad,” premiering in January, 2017. Santiago-Hudson recurs on Showtime’s “Billions” and recently starred in TNT’s “Public Morals.” The Lackawanna, NY, native opened the Ruben Santiago- Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center in 2014 in his hometown.
David Gallo has designed more than 30 Broadway productions, including Memphis, First Date, The Drowsy Chaperone (Tony Award for Best Scenic Design), The Mountaintop, Reasons to Be Pretty, Xanadu, Company and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Working with August Wilson from 1996 until his death, David designed the premiere productions of Wilson’s later works, including King Hedley II, Jitney, Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf, the latter two of which each garnered him Tony nominations. Other awards: Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Ovation, Obie, L.A. Drama Critics, Outer Critics Circle, NAACP. davidgallo.com
Broadway: Come From Away (2017); Amazing Grace; Lucky Guy; The Scottsboro Boys; Finian’s Rainbow; Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; King Hedley II; One Mo’ Time; The Wild Party; Marie Christine; Footloose; The Tempest; Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992; Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika; Chronicle of a Death Foretold; and Jelly’s Last Jam. Awards: Tony nomination, three Drama Desk nominations, six Lucille Lortel nominations, Hewes Design Award, Irene Sharaff Young Masters Award and the 2009 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Costume Design.
Other projects with Ruben Santiago-Hudson include Seven Guitars at Signature Theatre. Broadway: The Color Purple; Machinal; All the Way; Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic. Recent projects include Amélie at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Othello at NYTW; Hamlet at the Barbican; Roe at OSF; The Flick at the National Theatre, London; and Passion, Peer Gynt and Allegro at Classic Stage Company. Jane is a member of the Monica Bill Barnes Dance Company, has a long collaboration with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and is the director of the theatre program at Princeton University.
Previously at the Friedman: The American Plan, To Be Or Not to Be, The Royal Family, Top Girls and Time Stands Still. He is a Tony and Obie Award-winning sound designer whose work for theatre and dance has been heard in more than 500 productions nationally and internationally, on Broadway and off. His accolades for sound design also include the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel and AUDELCO awards. He is a two-time Henry Hewes Design Award winner and a proud recipient of the Princess Grace Award statue.
Bill Sims Jr. is an internationally respected “Master of the Blues.” He is a 2012 Grammy nominee for “And Still I Rise” and an Obie Award winner for Lackawanna Blues. Recent theatre credits: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Two River), The Piano Lesson (Hartford Stage and Signature Theatre), August Wilson’s Two Trains Running and Jitney (Two River). Mr. Sims was the subject of the documentary “An American Love Story” (PBS), for which he composed many of the songs for the soundtrack. Other film credits: “Lackawanna Blues,” New York Stories, Miss Ruby’s House, American Gangster, Cadillac Records. Training: Ohio State University. www.heritagebluesorchestra.com
Broadway: Amazing Grace, Lucky Guy, Little Shop of Horrors, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Our Town, Hollywood Arms, The Elephant Man, Dance of Death, Amy’s View, The Blue Room, Master Class, Blood Brothers. Other: Come From Away; The Dead, 1904; The Piano Lesson (Hartford); First Daughter Suite; Head of Passes; The Comedy of Errors (The Public); Woman Without Men (the Mint). He is a 2016 Drama Desk nominee for Daphne’s Dive (Signature). Resident designer: Irish Repertory Theatre, 42 Productions. Proprietor of the Broadway Wig Company. www.broadwaywigs.com
More than 60 Broadway shows including The Front Page, The Crucible, Blackbird, The Color Purple, Waitress, The King and I, War Horse, This Is Our Youth, Of Mice and Men, Romeo and Juliet, Lucky Guy, Death of a Salesman, Venus in Fur, A View From the Bridge. He has worked extensively at Lincoln Center (Disgraced, Blood and Gifts), the Public Theater (Hamlet, King Lear, Mother Courage, Father Comes Home From the Wars), MTC (Ruined, Murder Ballad), NY Theatre Workshop (Red Speedo, Othello) and the Met Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro, Il Trovatore).
Current/upcoming B’way: The Front Page; Les Liaisons Dangereuses; The Glass Menagerie; and A Doll’s House, Part 2. Recent and select B’way/Off-B’way: Blackbird, The Father, Fish in the Dark, It’s Only a Play, An Act of God, Airline Highway, Disgraced, Sex With Strangers, Lost Lake, The Country House, Casa Valentina, Holler If Ya Hear Me, The Trip to Bountiful, Fences. Also: Atlantic, LCT3, Ars Nova, Old Globe, Goodman, Arena, McCarter and others. Film/TV: “American Odyssey” (NBC), “How to Get Away With Murder” pilot (ABC), “Ironside” pilot (NBC), “Steel Magnolias” (Sony for Lifetime).
Broadway: All the Way, A Time to Kill, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Clybourne Park, The Pee-wee Herman Show, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, Stones in His Pockets, Bells Are Ringing, The Capeman. Off-Broadway: The Public Theater, Shakespeare in the Park, Playwrights Horizons, Young Playwrights Festival, Theatre for a New Audience, BAM. Regional: The Old Globe, Shakespeare Theatre DC, Seattle Rep, Chautauqua Theater Company, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Utah Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre. International: The Athens Festival.
Broadway: All the Way, First Date, A Free Man of Color, The People in the Picture. Off-Broadway: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company); Exit Strategy (Primary Stages); The Really Big Once, A Family of Perhaps Three (Target Margin Theater). Tour: Soul Doctor. Regional: Alliance Theatre, Two River Theater, Clarence Brown Theatre, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Riverside Theatre, Center Stage, among others.