NYC's Signature to Honor August Wilson and Recognize Time Warner Feb. 26

News   NYC's Signature to Honor August Wilson and Recognize Time Warner Feb. 26 New York City's Signature Theatre Company will pay tribute to the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson at its annual Benefit Gala on Feb. 26.

The evening, entitled August Wilson, A Celebration, will begin at 6:30 PM with cocktails followed by dinner and presentations at the Ritz Carlton New York, at Two West Street in Battery Park.

The celebration will feature guests Delroy Lindo, Charles Dutton, Phylicia Rashad, Mary Alice, Russell Hornsby, Romulus Linney, John Guare and Lee Blessing as well as a special tribute presentation by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Scheduled to perform are Ebony Jo-Ann and Bill Simms Jr. Wilson's widow, Constanza Romero, will act as honorary co-chair of the evening.

Time Warner will receive Signature Theatre's Annual Playwrights' Award "in recognition of their immeasurable support of Signature's 15th Anniversary season and groundbreaking $15 ticket initiative program."

Signature began performances of Wilson's King Hedley II on Feb. 20. The production, directed by Derrick Sanders, will run through April 15. Wilson (April 27, 1945-Oct. 2, 2005) penned 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 African Americans, decade-by-decade, over the course of the 20th century. Wilson's plays have been produced at regional theatres across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway.

In 2003 Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Wilson's 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; 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 Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. 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.

Individual tickets for August Wilson, A Celebration, are $500-$1,000 and can be purchased by calling (212) 967-1913, ext. 28.

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Signature Theatre is the respected Off-Broadway company devoted to focusing on one playwright per season.

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