Revival of Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone Opens on Broadway April 16

By Adam Hetrick
16 Apr 2009

Joe Turner's Come and Gone stars Aunjanue Ellis and Marsha Stephanie Blake.
Joe Turner's Come and Gone stars Aunjanue Ellis and Marsha Stephanie Blake.
Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher directs the first Broadway revival of late playwright August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone, opening April 16 at the Belasco Theatre.

Wilson's 1911-set play, the second in his ten-play cycle charting the African-American experience in the 20th century, began performances on Broadway March 19. Lincoln Center Theater produces the limited engagement, which is scheduled through June 14.

The cast of Joe Turner features Chad L. Coleman (Two Trains Running) as Herald Loomis, as well as Tony nominee Roger Robinson (Seven Guitars), Marsha Stephanie Blake (The Crucible), Michael Cummings (Emancipation), Aunjanue Ellis (The Tempest), Danai Gurira (In the Continuum), Andre Holland (Wig Out), Arliss Howard (A Number), Ernie Hudson (The Great White Hope), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (For Colored Girls…) and Amari Rose Leigh ("Law and Order").

Joe Turner, according to Lincoln Center, "tells the story of Herald Loomis who, after serving seven years hard labor, has journeyed North with his young daughter and arrives at a Pittsburgh boarding house filled with memorable characters who aid him in his search for his inner freedom."

The production has set design by Michael Yeargan, costume design by Catherine Zuber, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Leon Rothenberg and Scott Lehrer.



Each play in late playwright August Wilson's Century Cycle documents a decade in the history of African-American culture during the 20th century, beginning with Gem of the Ocean, 1904; through Broadway's recent Radio Golf, 1997. The majority of Wilson's plays are set in the Pittsburgh Hill District where the playwright was born and raised.

Wilson won the Tony Award for Fences, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Fences and The Piano Lesson. All of Wilson's plays were Tony-nominated for Best Play, with the exception of Jitney, which played Off-Broadway, and won an Olivier for its London production. Wilson is the first African-American playwright to have a Broadway theatre in his name. The playwright died of liver cancer in October 2005, shortly after finishing rewrites on what would be his last play, Radio Golf, the final chapter in his ten-play legacy.

The original production of Joe Turner's Come and Gone premiered on Broadway March 18, 1988 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, running for 105 performances. Under the direction of Lloyd Richards, the production earned Tony nominations for Best Play, Best Director, Best Featured Actor and took the Best Featured Actress Tony Award for L. Scott Caldwell.

Performances run Tuesday through Saturdays at 8 PM, with matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 PM and Sundays at 3 PM.

For tickets visit LCT.org The Belasco Theatre is located at 111 West 44th Street.