Manhattan Theatre Club’s staging of August Wilson’s Jitney, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, officially opened on Broadway January 19. The play is the only work from the late two-time Pulitzer Prize winner’s American Century Cycle that had never previously previously been seen on Broadway.
Set in the 1970s, the story follows a group of men who make a living driving unlicensed cabs or jitneys. The Broadway premiere of Jitney began preview performances December 28 and is playing at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre for a limited run through March 12.
Critics are beginning to post their reviews. Playbill.com will add more as they are published:
The cast features Harvy Blanks (Jitney in WNYC’s Greene Space American Century Cycle recording) as Shealy; Tony Award nominee Anthony Chisholm (Radio Golf, Jitney at Second Stage) as Fielding; Obie winner Brandon Dirden (The Piano Lesson, Clybourne Park) as Booster; André Holland (Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Moonlight) as Youngblood; Carra Patterson (Significant Other, Wit, Straight Outta Compton) as Rena; Michael Potts (The Book of Mormon, Aubergine) as Turnbo; Keith Randolph Smith (Fences, King Hedley II) as Doub; Ray Anthony Thomas (Jitney and Fences in WNYC’s Greene Space American Century Cycle recordings, Between Riverside and Crazy) as Philmore; and Drama Desk Award winner John Douglas Thompson (Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Satchmo at the Waldorf) as Becker.
“Set in the early 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or jitneys,” describe MTC production notes. “When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last.”
Scroll through photos of the Broadway debut of Jitney below:
First Look at August Wilson’s Jitney
The creative team includes David Gallo (scenic design); Toni-Leslie James (costume design); Jane Cox (lighting design); Darron L. West (sound design); Bill Sims, Jr. (original music); and Thomas Schall (fight director). Oscar and multiple Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter John Legend is attached as a producer.
MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre is located at 261 West 47th Street, New York. Tickets are available at Telecharge.com, by calling (212) 239-6200, or at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Box Office.