August Wilson's Radio Golf Plays on at Seattle Repertory Theatre

News   August Wilson's Radio Golf Plays on at Seattle Repertory Theatre Seattle Repertory Theatre honors the late playwright August Wilson as they begin the last play in his historic ten-play cycle, Radio Golf, Jan. 19.

Radio Golf shifted the previously announced world premiere of Neil Simon's Rewrites to the 2006-07 season. The Wilson work opens Jan. 25 at the Washington company's Bagley Wright Theatre for a run through Feb. 18.

Original cast members Anthony Chisolm, John Earl Jelks and James A. Williams will return to reprise their roles for the Seattle Rep run. They are joined by Denise Burse (An American Daughter) and Rocky Carroll (The Piano Lesson). Kenny Leon — who staged Wilson's Gem of the Ocean and the revival of A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway — directs.

"Important and defining moments occur in the theatre and in our lives, and this is one of them," stated artistic director David Esbjornson. "August Wilson was one of America's literary treasures and a Seattle resident, and we are only beginning to consider what his loss will mean to us.. An opportunity suddenly arose to work with our colleagues at the Mark Taper Forum to bring to Seattle, and take to other U.S. cities, the Kenny Leon-directed production of Radio Golf. It seems imperative that Seattle Rep respond to the recent events in Mr. Wilson's life and support this beloved artist in any way possible."

With Radio Golf, Wilson ended his ten-play cycle which chronicles the African American experience in the twentieth century decade by decade. The 1990s-set work involves real estate developers who look to tear down the home of recurring Wilson character Aunt Esther.

Radio Golf debuted at Yale Repertory Theatre under the direction of Timothy Douglas in April 2005. The work recently played with the same cast at the Center Theatre Group's Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The other plays in Wilson's grand undertaking (in order of decade which the drama is set) include 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 and King Hedley II.

Seattle Rep has previously produced the complete cycle with the exception of Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf. Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wilson also made his acting debut at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2003 with The August Wilson Project (working title: How I Learned What I Learned) — a solo work in which the scribe drew upon his life for stories about the struggle of an artist who is "at the crossroads of black and white culture."

The remaining Seattle Rep season lineup is as follows:

  • Private Lives (March 2- April 1)
  • Nine Parts of Desire (March 18-April 15)
  • Tuesdays with Morrie(April 8-May 7) Tickets to Radio Golf at Seattle Repertory Theatre, at 155 Mercer Street in Seattle, WA, are on sale by calling (206) 443-2222, 1-877-900-9285 (toll free) or online at www.seatttlerep.org.