By Robert Simonson
23 May 2001
Marion McClinton—who directed the hit Off-Broadway mounting of August Wilson's Jitney last season and is currently represented on Broadway by Wilson's King Hedley II—will continue his journey through the work of the Pittsburgh playwright by helming a new production of Joe Turner's Come and Gone at Missouri Repertory Theatre in Kansas City. The play will run May 3-26, 2002, concluding the Rep's upcoming season.
With Joe Turner, McClinton will become the only director to have staged all eight existing plays in Wilson's projected ten-play cycle examining the African-American experience in each decade of the last century. In addition to the three dramas mentioned above, they include Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars and Fences. McClinton appeared in a Rep production of the latter back in 1991.
Joe Turner, a play which McClinton has called his favorite by Wilson, takes place in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911. There, the jovial air of the house is shattered by the arrival of Herald Loomis and his daughter. Loomis has just returned from years of forced labor and is looking to construct a future and reconstruct his past.
McClinton recent told Playbill On-Line that Wilson is busy working on his latest cycle play, this one set in the first decade of the 20th Century. The playwright began talking about the work in Chicago and started writing it in D.C., said the director. And just as Hedley borrowed characters created in Seven Guitars, the new drama may reincarnate figures from Joe Turner.
The rest of the 2001-02 MRT schedule runs as follows:
• Morning Star by Sylvia Regan, directed by Risa Brainin, Oct. 12 Nov. 4
• The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare, directed by Larry Carpenter, Feb. 1-24, 2002
• Work Song: Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright by Jeffrey Hatcher and Eric Simonson, directed by Simonson, March 8-20, 2002; this a co production with Arizona Theatre Company.
The Rep is located at 4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, MO. For more information, call (816) 235-2700.