In response to the CPS teachers' strike, Court Theatre is offering a special free performance of August Wilson's Jitney, directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson, for any CPS student (and one parent/guardian) with a valid CPS ID. This free matinee will be Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 10:30am at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue. There is no need to RSVP, simply present a valid CPS ID at the theatre.
Executive Director Stephen Albert says, "Every year Court Theatre invites thousands of CPS students to attend our productions as part of its educational outreach programs. Despite the strike, we want Court to remain a place where students, teachers and parents can benefit from and enjoy classic theatre. While we hope the strike is resolved quickly, we are excited to open our doors to students for free this Thursday at this special performance of Jitney."
Jitney is recommended for high school students aged 13 and above. Please note this offer is contingent upon the CPS strike still being active on September 13th.
Court Theatre Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson (The Piano Lesson, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Fences) returns to direct Jitney, Court's latest installment of August Wilson's Century Cycle. Described by Wilson as the play in which he discovered his voice, Jitney weaves themes of tragedy and transcendence into a rich tapestry of stories about a community struggling to get by and longing to flourish. Fraught relationships, violent tensions, and unfulfilled desires ebb and flow inside Becker's car service, an unlicensed jitney station that serves the black community of Pittsburgh's Hill District in 1977. This powerful and timely piece explores the desperate need to connect when everything seems to be falling apart.
The cast of Jitney's includes Caren Blackmore (Rena), Kamal Angelo Bolden (Youngblood), AC Smith (Becker), Anthony Fleming III (Booster), Allen Gilmore (Turnbo), Andre Teamer (Philmore), Brian Weddington (Shealy), AlFrEd Wilson (Fielding), CedRic Young (Doub).
Jack Magaw (scenic design), Joshua Horvath (sound design), Marc Stubblefield (lighting design), and Melissa Torchia (costume design). Sara Gammage is the production stage manager and Amber Johnson is the assistant stage manager. Drew Dir is the Dramaturg.
August Wilson (Playwright, 1945-2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African-Americans, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century. His plays have been produced at regional theaters across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway. In 2003, Mr. Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Mr. Wilson's works garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987); and for The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain's Olivier Award for Jitney; as well as eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney, and Radio Golf. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson's early works included the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills.
Mr. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, the Whiting Writers Award, 2003 Heinz Award, was awarded a 1999 National Humanities Medal by the President of the United States, and received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and on October 16, 2005, Broadway renamed the theater located at 245 West 52nd Street - The August Wilson Theatre. Additionally, Mr. Wilson was posthumously inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2007.