Prior to its first performance, the entire run sold out at Signature's Off-Broadway home, the Peter Norton Space. A one-week extension (to Jan. 7, 2007) was announced — and it, too, quickly sold out. A second extra week (to Jan. 14) was announced Nov. 6.
One reason for the popularity of the August Wilson play is the ticket price for the initial run. Thanks to the lead sponsorship of Time Warner Inc., all seats were $15. Tickets for the extension weeks are $55.
The $15 ticket initiative will continue with the final play in the August Wilson series, King Hedley II, running Feb. 20-April 15, 2007.
Directed by Lou Bellamy, Two Trains Running is set in 1969 Pittsburgh, where "the regulars at a popular local diner grind out an existence against the backdrop of a turbulent world and rapidly changing city," according to Signature. "Memphis Lee looks to prevent the demolition of his restaurant in the face of a municipal project while across the street, Mr. West, the local funeral director, has more business than he can handle. Faced with racial inequality, a depressed economy and the threat of violence, the local residents fight to hang on to their solidarity and sense of community." The cast features Leon Addison Brown, Chad L. Coleman, Frankie Faison, Arthur French, Ron Cephas Jones, January LaVoy and Ed Wheeler.
Two Trains Running has scenic design by Derek McLane; costumes by Mathew J. Lefebvre; lights by Robert Wierzel; and sound by Brett R. Jarvis.
August Wilson (April 27, 1945-Oct. 2, 2005) authored 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.
On Oct. 16, 2005, the former Virginia Theatre on Broadway was re-named The August Wilson Theatre.
Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA, and lived in Seattle, WA, at the time of his death. He is immediately survived by his two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero.
Director Lou Bellamy is founder and artistic director of Saint Paul's Penumbra Theatre. During his 30-year tenure as artistic director, Penumbra has evolved into one of America's major theatres dedicated to dramatic exploration of the African-American experience.
For more information, visit www.signaturetheatre.org.