Fences Has a Broadway Target of Spring 2009

News   Fences Has a Broadway Target of Spring 2009
The new Suzan-Lori Parks-directed Broadway production of August Wilson's Fences, previously mentioned as a fall 2008 candidate, is aiming for a spring 2009 bow, representatives for the production confirmed.
Suzan-Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks

This is the first Broadway revival of Wilson's Tony and Pulitzer-winning masterpiece about the tough-love relationship between a father and his athlete son. James Earl Jones won a Tony Award for his thundering performance as Troy Maxson in the 1987-88 original Broadway run.

The play is set in the "backyard of the Maxson house in an urban neighborhood of a North American industrial city, 1957-1965."

The production won Tonys in the categories of Best Play, Best Actor in a Play, Best Featured Actress in a Play (Mary Alice) and Best Direction of a Play (Lloyd Richards).

Carole Shorenstein Hays, who produced the Broadway engagement of the Yale Repertory Theatre production 20 years ago, is again attached.

Parks is the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Topdog/Underdog. Fences was the second of Wilson's cycle of plays about one hundred years of the African-American experience, according to production notes. In it, "a 53-year-old sanitation worker and former Negro League baseball star dissuades his son from accepting a college football scholarship and persuades his wife to rear the child he recently fathered with another woman."


Hays, who also produced the Broadway production of Parks' Topdog/Underdog, met with both Parks and Wilson's widow Constanza Romero to discuss the Broadway revival, according to an earlier report in the New York Times. No casting has been announced.

Parks told the Times earlier this year, "When you have a great play like Fences, it wakes up the talent out there."

As a producer, Carole Shorenstein Hays' Broadway credits include Gem of the Ocean; Rock 'n' Roll; Caroline, or Change; Doubt; Take Me Out; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?; and The Old Neighborhood, among others.

Parks' Topdog/Underdog was produced at The Public Theater and on Broadway. Her other works include 365 Days/365 Plays, Fucking A, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom, The America Play, Venus, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World and In The Blood, among others.

The late Wilson penned a ten-play cycle that documents a different decade in the history of African-American culture during the twentieth century, beginning with Gem of the Ocean (set in the 1900s) through Broadway's recent Radio Golf (set in the 1990s). The majority of Wilson's plays are set in the Pittsburg Hills District where he was born and raised.

In addition to earning the Tony Award for Fences, Wilson was also honored with a Tony for 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. Wilson died of liver cancer in October of 2005, shortly after finishing rewrites on what would be his last play, Radio Golf, the final chapter in his ten-play legacy.

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