Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps will stage the revival slated to begin previews Aug. 25 and open Sept.1 for a run currently scheduled through Oct. 1 at the California company's
"I spoke with Angela (Bassett) about playing Rose (Troy Maxson’s wife) and she was quite intrigued by the idea. We spoke about actors who could fill the immense shoes that are Troy Maxson – one name came to mind for both of us and it was Laurence Fishburne," Epps revealed. "After seeing Laurence's towering performance in Without Walls at the Mark Taper Forum I went backstage to congratulate him and asked him if he would join us to bring August’s most profound play back to the stage." The two were confirmed to star in a matter of weeks.
"This is our way of honoring August – and also the brilliant Lloyd Richards, the director who helped create many of his plays," concluded Epps. Both playwright Wilson and his constant collaborator Richards passed away in the last year.
The 1950-60's Pittsburgh-set drama follows the struggle of a former Negro League baseball player who now finds himself working as a garbage collector. Fences not only earned the Tony Awards for Best Play, but also the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Lloyd Richards directed the original Broadway run in 1987 which starred James Earl Jones, Mary Alice and newcomer Courtney B. Vance (Bassett's husband). Richards, Jones and Alice also took home Tony Awards for their work.
The duo of Fishburne and Bassett first co-starred in the film "Boyz 'N the Hood," then took on the real-life, volatile couple Ike and Tina Turner in the biopic "What's Love Got to Do with It?" They recently reteamed on "Akeelah and the Bee." Fishburne earned his Tony for August Wilson's Two Trains Running. He recently appeared on Broadway in The Lion in Winter but is well known for turns in such movies as "The Matrix" trilogy, "Mission: Impossible III," "Assault on Precinct 13," "Miss Evers' Boys," "The Tuskegee Airmen," "The Color Purple," "The Cotton Club" and "Apocalypse Now" among others.
Bassett appeared in the original Broadway staging of Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Though she has also appeared on stage in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, she is perhaps best known for her film work which include "Malcolm X," "Waiting to Exhale," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "F/X" and "City of Hope."
Tickets to Fences at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Ave. In Pasadena, CA are available by calling (626) 356-PLAY. For more information, visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.