Revitalizing August Wilson’s JITNEY 

On May 27, 2017 by Theater Talk Web

Awards this season for ‘Jitney’

WINNER: Outer Critics Circle – Best Revival of a Play (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

WINNER: Drama League – Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play

SPECIAL CITATION: New York Drama Critics Circle – to director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and the ensemble cast


NOMINATED FOR 6 Drama Desk Awards:

Outstanding Revival of a Play

Outstanding Director of a Play (Ruben Santiago-Hudson)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play (John Douglas Thompson)

Outstanding Music in a Play (Bill Sims Jr.)

Outstanding Set Design for a Play (David Gallo)

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play (Toni-Leslie James)


NOMINATED FOR 6 Tony Awards:

Best Revival of a Play

Best Direction of a Play (Ruben Santiago-Hudson)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (John Douglas Thompson)

Best Scenic Design of a Play (David Gallo)

Best Costume Design of a Play (Toni-Leslie James)

Best Lighting Design of a Play (Jane Cox)

Our guests are director Ruben Santiago-Hudson, along with actors John Douglas Thompson and Brandon J. Dirden who discuss Santiago-Hudson’s revival of the late August Wilson’s play Jitney. Set in a gypsy cab dispatch office in Pittsburgh’s Hill District during the 1970’s, the show reveals the outer and inner conflicts of the diverse group of African-American men who are eking out their livings as drivers.

Our guests also look back at their auditions and rehearsals for the show, which gives an intriguing look into the behind-the-scenes process that helped Santiago-Hudson and his Manhattan Theatre Club producer Lynne Meadow, put together this outstanding production.

Santiago-Hudson also remembers his long-standing friendship and working relationship with August Wilson. (Santiago-Hudson has not only directed many of the writer’s plays, but won a Best Featured Actor TONY Award in 1996 for his performance in Wilson’s Seven Guitars). Wilson, who died of liver cancer at age 60 in 2005, remains one of the most important American playwrights of our time with work including The Pittsburgh Cycle, his powerful series of 10 plays portraying Black lives across 10 decades of the 20th Century. Jitney is the first play August Wilson finished in this series, and it remains one of the greatest in his outstanding body of work.

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