The launch makes Goodman the only resident theatre to have produced every play in the late Wilson's 10-play cycle about the 20th century African-American experience.
Radio Golf was completed only months before Wilson's death in 2005, and is the final play in his decade-by-decade series. It's also the cycle's only play about the African-American middle class.
Director Kenny Leon returns to the Goodman, where he appeared in the 2003 world premiere production of Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. This Broadway-aimed production of Radio Golf was seen in fall 2006 at Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, and will play McCarter Theatre in New Jersey in the spring. A Broadway berth is expected to be announced by commercial producers.
Radio Golf runs through Feb. 18 in the Goodman's Albert Theatre; opening is Jan. 23. The Goodman production is produced in association with Yale Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Center Stage, Huntington Theatre Company and McCarter Theatre.
According to Goodman, "At the center of Radio Golf is the ambitious Harmond Wilks, a man with big plans. He is about to break ground on Bedford Hills, a slick new real estate venture designed to revive Pittsburgh's depressed Hill District — and propel him to becoming the city's first black mayor. But first, the government must declare the historic neighborhood blighted, unleashing federal money for the development. All goes according to plan until a mysterious stranger, claiming ownership of Aunt Ester's house at 1839 Wylie Avenue, forces Wilks to reconsider his path to success. Radio Golf completes the playwright's argument that richness of a shared past must not be lost amid the temptations of a glittery present." The cast includes Anthony Chisholm as Elder Joseph Barlow; Hassan El-Amin as Harmond Wilks; John Earl Jelks as Sterling Johnson; Michole Briana White as Mame Wilks; James A. Williams as Roosevelt Hicks.
Kenny Leon staged the Goodman's Miss Evers' Boys and appeared in Gem of the Ocean.
"More than any other writer of his generation, August Wilson transformed contemporary theatre with a unique blend of poetry, music, storytelling and mysticism," stated artistic director Robert Falls. "His death robbed the American theatre of a truly monumental artist, and the Goodman of a longtime friend and collaborator. I am very proud of the close ties August had with the Goodman, ties that will be explored in our August Wilson Celebration in January and February. His legacy will continue to spark dialogue for generations to come."
Goodman Theatre's August Wilson Celebration, Jan. 13-Feb. 19, 2007 includes Congo Square Theatre Company's production of Joe Turner's Come and Gone in the Owen Theatre. Augmenting the Celebration is a series of one-night-only programs which features the art and artists who helped make this playwright one of America's greatest writers."
August Wilson 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. In 2003, Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show How I Learned What I Learned.
For more information, visit www.GoodmanTheatre.org.