Each of Wilson's plays documents a decade in the history of African-American culture during the twentieth century, beginning with Gem of the Ocean, 1904; through Broadway's recent Radio Golf, 1997. The majority of Wilson's plays are set in the Pittsburg Hills District where he was born and raised. "The August Wilson Century Cycle" comprises 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.
The new collection features a distinguished array of forwards from notables: Tony Kushner, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne, Frank Rich, Toni Morrison, Suzan-Lori Parks and a series introduction by John Lahr.
Wilson said of his legacy, "Before I am anything, a man or a playwright, I am an African American. The tributary streams of culture, history and experience have provided me with the materials out of which I make my art."
Each play is printed in hardcover and may be purchased separately from the collection for $25; the full collection is currently available for $200 from Theatre Communications Group. Visit www.tcg.org for more information.
Playwright August Wilson won the Tony Award for Fences as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Fences and The Piano Lesson. All of Wilson's plays were Tony nominated for Best Play, with the exception of Jitney which played Off-Broadway, winning an Olivier for its London production. Wilson is the first African American playwright to have a Broadway theatre in his name. Mr. Wilson died of liver cancer in October of 2005, shortly after finishing rewrites on what would be his last play, Radio Golf, the final chapter in his ten-play legacy.