Fences Revival, Directed by Suzan-Lori Parks, Is Heading for Broadway

News   Fences Revival, Directed by Suzan-Lori Parks, Is Heading for Broadway
A revival of the late August Wilson's Fences, which won the 1987 Tony Award for Best Play, is aiming for a fall arrival under the direction of playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.
Suzan-Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks

The New York Times reports that Carole Shorenstein Hays, a producer of the original production of Fences, has signed on to bring the latest incarnation of the award-winning work to Broadway.

The 1950-60's Pittsburgh-set drama follows the struggle of a former Negro League baseball player who now finds himself working as a garbage collector.

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. Although casting is not yet underway, Parks told the Times, "When you have a great play like Fences, it wakes up the talent out there."

The original staging of Fences earned a Tony Award for Best Play as well as a Best Leading Actor award for James Earl Jones, Best Featured Actress for Mary Alice, Best Direction for Lloyd Richards and the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

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. Suzan-Lori Parks is a Pulitzer Prize winner for her play Topdog/Underdog, which was produced at The Public 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. Mr. 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.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is currently presenting August Wilson's 20th Century, staged readings of Wilson's ten-play cycle, through April 6.

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