August Wilson

Recent Articles

Playwright Lesli Lee dies at age 83

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

Lesli Lee, one of America’s most significant Black playwrights prior to the emergence of August Wilson, died January 20 in Manhattan at 83 of congestive heart failure. Lee is best known for his Obie Award-winning and Tony-nominated drama about middle-class life, The First Breeze of Summer (Negro Ensemble Company). The original cast included company founder Douglas Turner Ward, Frances Foster and Moses Gunn. Not until Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Fuller and later Wilson was another African American author similarly accomplished. A 2008 revival of The First Breeze of Summer (Signature Theatre Company), directed by noted actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson, won honors at the prestigious Audelco Awards. Continue Reading →

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Guthrie Theater’s smug and offensive “Clybourne Park” perpetuates the illusion of a “post-Civil-Rights” society

 

By Peter Rachcleff, Community Voices/Twin Cities Daily Planet

 

Clybourne Park is a significant play. It won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and, in 2012, was awarded the Tony Award for best Broadway drama. A cursory glance over the schedules for regional theater in the past two years suggests that it is the most widely produced play in the country. The Guthrie has made a major investment in the play, from hiring a top notch production team and cast to building an enormous, complex set, and booking the play for a lengthy run of eight weeks. On the night I attended, most of the apparently full house (around 700) at the McGuire Proscenium Stage—almost all of whom were, like me, white—loved the play. Continue Reading →

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Penumbra Theatre Co. flips the script to meet economic challenge

 
Financial state result of administration’s failure to watch cash flow
 

By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer

 

Penumbra Theatre Company (PTC), one of the nation’s largest African American theaters, has suspended its programming for the year. This decision is due to a cash-flow challenge, which prompted PTC to lay off six of its 16 full-time employees. In a surprising twist to it all, PTC’s Lou Bellamy, who is known for being the founder, will be replaced as artistic director. However, according to reports, his successor will not be announced until close to the spring of 2013, when the theater will resume production. PTC was founded by Bellamy in 1976. Continue Reading →

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The Amen Corner: Penumbra breathes life into James Baldwin play

 

 

Lou Bellamy brilliantly directs James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner at Guthrie Theater for a Penumbra Theatre Company/Guthrie Theater regional premiere. Bellamy, of course, is best known for taking scripts through their paces in St. Paul on Penumbra’s home ground at the Halle Q. Browne Community Center. An ace with ensemble casts, Bellamy has shown his hand to admirable effect with memorable Penumbra productions of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Seven Guitars and Two Trains Running. Here, Bellamy tackles an unwieldy script to winning effect. Continue Reading →

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Black wisdom: for our collective prosperity in 2012

Critical thinking in the Black Independence Movement
 

“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends,” a lesson from Mary McLeod Bethune. This year, we can work to broaden our own experiences and, when possible, to broaden the experiences of those around us. Our kids need to know that there is more to the world than Minneapolis and St. Paul. If our kids never see a play at the only Black theater in the Midwest, our very own Penumbra, how will our people help to shape and create the next August Wilson? Continue Reading →

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