The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Series for Artistic Excellence
March 4- April 6, Terrace Theater
August Wilson’s legacy lives on through his cycle of 10 plays chronicling the African American experience, each set in a different decade of the 20th century. For the first time ever, the Kennedy Center brings them together in this historic celebration.
More than 30 stars of stage and screen join Artistic Director Kenny Leon and 6 other directors for these staged readings complemented with costumes, lighting, and scenery. For the first 4 weeks, they’ll be performed in repertory in order of their decade. In the fifth week, you can see all 10 plays in 8 days.
See what the media is saying about the celebration:
- Associated Press article featuring director interviews – Feb. 28
- Washington Times: "Wilson cycle not black and white" – Feb. 29
- Variety: "D.C. pays tribute to August Wilson" – Feb. 29
- USA Today: "Kennedy Center honors words of August Wilson" – Mar. 2
- Baltimore Sun : "Staging August Wilson" – Mar. 2
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Five-week reading of August Wilson’s epic cycle to begin in D.C." – Mar. 2
- Washington Post: "A Man of Great Characters" – Mar. 3
- Washington Times: "'Turner' poetry hangs in the air" – Mar. 8
- Washington Post: "'August Wilson's 20th Century' Is Teeming With Rich Portrayals" – Mar. 8
- Washington Post: "To Showcase August Wilson, Actors Show Their Strengths" – Mar. 15
- NPR: "Wilson's 'Century Cycle' Runs at Kennedy Center" – Mar. 16
- Washington Post: "Female Voices Strike a Vibrant Chord in Wilson's '20th Century'" – Mar. 26
- USA Today: Legacy, poetry in motion” – Mar. 29
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Montae Russell and the August Wilson Cycle at Kennedy Center, a journal” – Mar. 29
- Washington Post: “All Aboard: ‘Trains’ Rolls on Fresh Tracks” – Apr. 3
Watch and Listen
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Staged ReadingsTickets $65 per performance. Click on a title below to buy tickets.
Directors include Lou Bellamy, Gordon Davidson, Israel Hicks, Todd Kreidler, Kenny Leon, Derrick Sanders, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
Sets by David Gallo, costumes by Reggie Ray, lighting by Allen Lee Hughes, and music supervision by Dwight Andrews. .
Download and print a color PDF of the August Wilson schedule.
This is the haunting tale of a spiritually tormented young man who pays a visit to Aunt Ester, a former slave, on the eve of her 287th birthday. On his way to the mythic City of Bones, he makes startling discoveries about guilt, duty, and redemption.
Released from many grueling years on a plantation chain gang, Herald Loomis journeys north in search of a new life. With his young daughter, he struggles to find his place--and his long-lost wife--while staying in a Pittsburgh boardinghouse.
Chicago blues legend Ma Rainey sets out to record her latest album in the only one of Wilson's 10 plays set beyond Pittsburgh. As generational and racial tensions escalate among her band and producers, the studio soon explodes in violence and tragedy.
Bearing the carved faces of her enslaved ancestors, Berniece's antique piano is her family's most treasured heirloom. Though it sits unused, the option to sell it for land sparks a fierce debate with her brother Boy Willie, a Mississippi sharecropper.
"Everybody got a time coming," says one of the central characters in this exploration of life and death. Through flashbacks, seven friends and neighbors face the sobering reality of mortality and the pain of losing those they love.
Once a famous baseball player, Troy Maxson is a proud garbage collector, father, and husband. When his youngest son is offered a football scholarship, Troy must reconcile his anger at past racial inequities with wanting the best for his family's future.
Regulars at Memphis Lee's lunch counter gossip, sermonize and wax poetic on the stories of the day. Learning the city is to demolish their favorite gathering spot in the wake of urban renewal, these colorful souls contemplate where next to seek salvation.
At a ramshackle taxi depot, the men who drive gypsy cabs, or "jitneys," strive to find honor and accomplishment in a harsh world. When the station owner's estranged son returns from prison, their reunion unleashes two decades of brutal, raw emotion.
An ex-con tries to rebuild his life by selling stolen refrigerators and robbing the neighborhood jeweler so he can buy a video store. But grand dreams for his wife and unborn child are threatened by a system that's not about to play by his rules.
Harmond Wilks's revitalization project will make him Pittsburgh's first black mayor. And his radio host partner advocates golf as deliverance in the era of Tiger Woods. But a hold-out on their real estate deal forces them to question their methods.
Performance information is currently unavailable.
Additional support is provided by Shell Oil Company, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and Viacom.