The Pittsburgh Public Theater will premiere August Wilson's newest work, King Hedley II, at its new facility in the fall of 1999.
The Public's public relations director Tim Colbert confirmed what had been known in Seattle and Pittsburgh: That Wilson's new work will play at the new Public space as a co-production with Seattle Repertory Theatre. The production will move to Seattle Rep in early 2000, Colbert said.
The Public's new stand-alone theatre building, with a 650-seat thrust space, is currently under construction toward a fall 1999 ribbon-cutting, Colbert told Playbill On-Line Jan. 6.
Wilson, a Pittsburgh native and Seattle resident who sets many of his plays in his Pennsylvania hometown, told The Seattle Times in 1998 that the main character in King Hedley II "is the son of Ruby, a figure in my play, Seven Guitars. This one's set in the '80s, when you have all this violence and these kids with guns running around. I'm exploring three generations trying to cope with the breakdown of civility in the black community."
The play will be number eight in a planned series of 10 works tracing the African-American experience, decade by decade, in the 20th century. Plays in the cycle so far include Joe Turner's Come and Gone (1910s), Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1920s), The Piano Lesson (1930s), Seven Guitars (1940s), Fences (1950s), Two Trains Running (1960s) and Jitney (1970s).
Exact fall 1999 dates for King Hedley II in Pittsburgh are not yet set; no casting or artistic staff has been announced.
The Pittsburgh Public's 1999-2000 season will be at its new theatre in the heart of the city's cultural district, Colbert said. The new thrust theatre will be 200 seats larger than the current 457-seat thrust space, and the rehearsal hall at the new facility will double as an intimate second space.