|Since May 16 "Jitney" has been wowing audiences at the Studio Theatre (1333 P
St., NW, Washington, DC), so much so that it has been extended until July 15.
"Jitney" is the first play written in the decade-by-decade series look at
African-American life by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning author August
Wilson. Set in 1977 Pittsburgh and directed by Regge Life, "Jitney" is the
deeply emotional story of fathers and sons trying to connect, even as they
feel their livelihood slipping away. Wilson very vividly and lyrically
documents a pivotal time in the African-American experience -- when our
communities were disintegrating in the aftermath of the 1960s civil rights
dreams that never came true.
"Walking around D.C. neighborhoods, you can see the same things going on here
on 14th Street and on U Street, that Wilson portrays in `Jitney.' The sense
of a community being slowly, economically and culturally dismantled and
people asking, `Where are we going to go?" remarked Life.
Written in 1979, "Jitney" was the first play to garner Wilson attention as a
playwright. He worked at the Science Museum of Minnesota writing scripts for
actors who toured the museum's anthropology floor. After attending a play
with one of the actors, Wilson thought, "I can write that," which led to the
creation of "Jitney" and earned him a playwright fellowship.
Encouraged, he proceeded to write the second play of what would become his
"decade plays" - 10 works chronicling the African-American experience during
each decade of the 20th century. This past season, the Kennedy Center
presented the 1990s play, "King Hedley II."
Wilson won the Pulitzer Prize for "The Piano Lesson" (1990) and "Fences"
(1987), and a Tony Award in 1984 for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."
Tickets for "Jitney" are $19.50-$39.50. For ticket and information call