August Wilson’s celebrated 10-play cycle captures 100 years of African American life during each decade of the 20th century. Join us for an historic series in The Greene Space as an extraordinary cast of actors and directors — many who worked directly with Wilson — gather to make the first-ever recording of all ten plays.
The series kicks off Monday, August 26, bringing together many longtime Wilson collaborators and interpreters, including the project’s Artistic Director and Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson; Associate Director and Tony Award-nominee Stephen McKinley Henderson; Directors include Tony Award-nominee Kenny Leon; Tony Award-winner Phylicia Rashad; Michele Shay; andMarion McClinton. The readings will feature many actors reprising the roles they performed on stage, including Tony Award-winner Leslie Uggams; Drama Desk and Obie Award-winner Anthony Chisholm; Obie Award-winner Brandon Dirden; Russell Hornsby; Tony Award-winner Roger Robinson;Emmy Award-winner Keith David; Ebony Jo-Ann; John Earl Jelks; Roslyn Ruff; S. Epatha Merkerson; Wendell Pierce; Jesse L. Martin; Harry LennixandTaraji P. Henson in her Wilson debut. The readings will be scored with original music by Grammy-nominated composer Bill Sims, Jr. and other composers who worked with Wilson. The plays will be presented in the order in which they premiered, with the recordings shared with institutions around the U.S.
We’ll also host a companion Talk Series, giving audiences a deeper look at Wilson’s works and the historic relationships he formed with his artistic collaborators.
About the Plays
Wilson’s 10-play cycle chronicles the African American experience in the 20th century with each play set in a different decade. The cycle begins in the early 1900s, when wounds from slavery and the Civil War were still fresh, and closes in the 1990s, when even a large and increasingly influential black middle class would not escape persistent racial tensions. Two of the plays, Fences and The Piano Lesson, were recognized with Pulitzer Prizes.
The Greene Space is pleased to receive philanthropic support for the series from the Ford Foundation, whose mission is to support visionary leaders on the frontlines of social change, and the Jerome Robbins Foundation, whose mission is to support dance, theater and their associative arts.
Watch Live Video Webcasts
Not in NYC? Missed your chance for tickets? Follow the show links below to watch live video webcasts of all performances right here on our website!
All events take place at The Greene Space and begin at 7pm, except for two special matinee presentations at 12pm on Sept. 21 and Sept. 28.
Monday, August 26; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Wednesday, August 28: Fences
Thursday, August 29: Talk: The Lloyd Richards Effect
Wednesday, September 4: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
Thursday, September 5: Talk: August Wilson’s Women
Friday, September 6: Talk: Music and Dance
Monday, September 9: The Piano Lesson
Wednesday, September 11: Two Trains Running
Friday, September 13: Seven Guitars
Monday, September 16: Jitney
Tuesday, September 17: Talk: Bringing Black Works to Broadway
Thursday, September 19: Talk: Religion, Spirituality and Africa
Saturday, September 21: King Hedley II (Matinee Presentation)
Saturday, September 21: King Hedley II
Tuesday, September 24: Gem of the Ocean
Wednesday, September 25: Talk: Reminiscences
Saturday, September 28; Radio Golf(Matinee Presentation)
Saturday, September 28: Radio Golf
And via the annoucement last Dec, “In 2013, August Wilson’s ‘American Century Cycle’ - The Greene Space”:
The 10 Plays of American Century Cycle:
- 1900s "Gem of the Ocean" - 1839 Wylie Avenue, set in 1904
- 1910s "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone" - a boardinghouse, set in 1911
- 1920s "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" – a band room and studio in Chicago, Illinois, set in 1927
- 1930s "The Piano Lesson" – a home with an heirloom upright piano, set in 1936
- 1940s "Seven Guitars" – backyard of a brick home with a cellar and window fronting the yard, set in 1948
- 1950s "Fences" – an urban neighborhood in an industrial city, set in 1957
- 1960s "Two Trains Running" – a restaurant across from a funeral home and a meat market, set in 1969
- 1970s "Jitney" – a neighborhood gypsy taxicab station, set in 1977
- 1980s "King Hedley II" – the backyard of two tenement homes, set in 1985
- 1990s "Radio Golf" – a real estate office, set in 1997