Court Theatre kicks off its 2012-13 season with August Wilson's Jitney directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson.Jitney is the fourth play in Wilson's Century Cycle to be produced at Court Theatre under Parson's direction. The production will runSeptember 6 – October 14, 2012 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue. The press opening will be Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
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.
"I had the honor of being an understudy in the Goodman's production of Jitney back in 1999 and with that came the joyous opportunity to sit next to August and see him at work on one of his most beloved plays," says Ron OJ Parson. "He forever continued to perfect and revise the lyricism, music and energy of his work, and it's with that same spirit that I revisit Jitney at my artistic home, Court Theatre.Throughout my career, I've either directed or acted in twenty productions of August Wilson's work and I can honestly say that directing this magnificent play, with this exceptional Chicago cast, is truly a special moment for me."
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 satireBlack Bart and the Sacred Hills.