Directed by Tony nominee Kenny Leon, producers of the Wilson play announced June 7 that the production had recouped its $2.8 million capitalization after eight weeks of performances. The production also regularly broke box-office records at the Cort Theatre; in fact, for the week ending July 4, the play grossed $1,164,529.
The first Broadway revival of Fences, the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play by Wilson, officially opened at the Cort Theatre April 26 following previews that began April 14.
The cast also features Chris Chalk as Cory, Stephen McKinley Henderson as Jim Bono, Russell Hornsby as Lyons, Mykelti Williamson as Gabriel, with Eden Duncan-Smith and SaCha Stewart-Coleman alternating in the role of Raynell.
Branford Marsalis, the Grammy-winning saxophonist, composed music for the Broadway revival.
The design team included Santo Loquasto (set design), Constanza Romero (costume design), Brian MacDevitt (lighting design) and ACME Sound Partners (sound design). Fences won the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play Revival, as well as Tony Awards for Best Actor Washington and Best Actress Davis. Drama Desk Awards were presented to Davis and Branford Marsalis (for his score), and Outer Critics Circle Awards went to Washington for Best Actor and Davis for Best Actress. Davis also won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Sustained Excellence, and director Kenny Leon received a Drama League Award for Excellence in Directing. Chris Chalk won a 2010 Theatre World Award for his performance.
Fences is the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning play by Wilson — one play in a cycle of ten about the African-American experience in the 20th century.
Fences takes place over eight years from 1957 to 1965. Washington stars as Troy Maxson, a Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a baseball career, but was too old when the major leagues finally admitted black players. According to production notes, "As he faces off against the racial barrier at work and his own disappointments, Troy also grapples with his son, Cory, over the teenager's hope for a football scholarship and with his wife, Rose (Viola Davis), who confronts Troy over a child he has fathered with another woman."
Fences originally starred James Earl Jones as Troy. The original Broadway production won four Tony Awards including Best Play, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, three Drama Desk Awards, including Best Play and the NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.
Washington returns to Broadway for the first time since starring in Julius Caesar (2005). He made his Broadway debut in Checkmates (1988). Other theatre credits include Richard III, The Mighty Gents, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, When the Chickens Come Home to Roost and an Obie Award for A Soldier's Play. He is a two-time Academy Award winner for his performances in "Training Day" and "Glory" and received Oscar nominations for his performances in "The Hurricane," "Malcolm X" and "Cry Freedom."
Davis won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance in August Wilson's King Hedley II. She was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG and Critics Choice Awards and won the National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Performance for "Doubt." She also appeared in the Broadway production of August Wilson's Seven Guitars (Tony, Drama Desk nominations, Outer Critics Circle, Theatre World Awards). Off-Broadway credits include Intimate Apparel (Drama Desk, Drama League, Obie, Audelco Awards), Everybody's Ruby (Obie, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle nomination for Featured Actress), Pericles and As You Like It.
The late Wilson's plays 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, King Hedley II and Radio Golf. He won Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1990), a Tony Award for Fences, Great Britain's Olivier Award for Jitney, as well as eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards.
Fences is produced by Carole Shorenstein Hays (who produced the original Broadway production) and Scott Rudin. Visit www.FencesOnBroadway.com.