Photo Flash: Carl Lumbly and More Star in Marin Theatre's FENCES, Beginning Tonight
Marin Theatre Company, in association with Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, will stage August Wilson's Fences, the 1950s entry into his Century Cycle (also known as his Pittsburgh Cycle) - a decade-by-decade exploration of the black experience in 20th century America. Directed by Derrick Sanders, the Pulitzer Prize and two-time Tony Award-winning play will feature veteran film and television actor Carl Lumbly as Troy Maxson, Steven Anthony Jones, the artistic director of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, as Jim Bono and award-winning actor, playwright and director Margo Hall as Rose, as well as Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Eddy Ray Jackson as Cory, Adrian Roberts as Gabriel,Tyee Tilghman as Lyons and two Marin City youths - Jade Sweeney, who attends Willow Creek Academy, and Makaelah Bashir, Bayside Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy - splitting the role of Raynell. Scroll down for a first look at the stars!
Extended by eight performances due to high demand for tickets, the production will run for 37 performances from today, April 10 through May 11. Opening night is Tuesday, April 15. Based in Mill Valley, MTC is a 47-year old professional nonprofit theater that is a destination for exhilarating performances, inspired new American plays and powerful theatrical experiences. Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, a 33-year-old San Francisco-based African-American theater company, has included Fences as part of its 2013-14 Passport Season subscription series.
In Fences, Troy Maxson, one of the greatest characters of American theater, has stepped up to the plate too many times in his life only to go down swinging. Shut out of the big leagues by prejudice, the former Negro League homerun king is now a garbage collector with little future. He tries to do right by his family, but when his youngest son Cory shows promise on the high school football team, Troy must come to terms with his past disappointments or risk tearing his family apart. "Stunning, explosive and tender" (The Seattle Times), Fences is "August Wilson at his finest" (Boston Herald). "Time has enhanced the luster of" the play and it "stands apart thanks to its distinctive lyricism and theatricality and its unforgettable central character" - Fences is "universal enough to touch a chord in every human heart." (The New York Times).
The recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes, a Tony Award, a Laurence Olivier Award and the National Humanities Medal, Wilson is often cited as one of America's greatest dramatists and, until his death in 2005 at the age of 60, was an outspoken leader in American regional and commercial theater, particularly known for promoting and mentoring black theater artists. MTC previously produced his Seven Guitars in 2011. The production was nominated for eight San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Awards, winning best ensemble, best performance by a female actor in a lead role (Omoze Idehenre), best costume design (Callie Floor) and best lighting design (Kurt Landisman).
For the first time, three of the Bay Area's most celebrated actors - Carl Lumbly, Steven Anthony Jones and Margo Hall - will share the same stage in MTC's Fences. Lumbly, known for his nearly 100 television and film credits (particularly his recurring roles on Cagney and Lacey, Aliasand M.A.N.T.I.S.) has won recent critical acclaim for his work on Bay Area stages, including Terminus at Magic Theatre and Storefront Churchand Motherfucker with a Hat at SF Playhouse. Jones, artistic director of the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, returns to the stage for the first time in four years; he was last seen in Scapin at A.C.T., where he was a core company member for over 20 years. Returning to MTC where she was last seen in Seven Guitars in 2011, Hall has recently been seen a Z Space in her autobiographical new play Be Bop Baby: A Musical Memoir about her stepfather Teddy Harris, Jr., a Motown musician and composer who worked with the Supremes, Paul Butterfield and Aretha Franklin, as well as A Winter's Tale and American Night: The Ballad of Juan José at Cal Shakes.
Fences marks the MTC and Bay Area debut of director Derrick Sanders, one of the country's preeminent interpreters of the work of August Wilson. He worked directly with the playwright as assistant director on his world premieres of Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean on Broadwayand at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, as well as Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and Huntington Theatre in Boston for Radio Golf. He's also directed Wilson's King Hedley II Off-Broadway at Signature Theatre and as part of the "August Wilson's 20th Century" staged reading festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; Seven Guitars for Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago and "August Wilson's 20th Century," Joe Turner's Come and Gone at Center Stage in Baltimore and Congo Square; Fences and Radio Golf at Virginia Stage Companyand Jitney at True Colors Theatre in Atlanta. He also organizes Chicago's August Wilson Monologue Competition, which "gives high school students an opportunity to explore and share the richness of August Wilson's Century Cycle."
Photo Credit: Ed Smith
Carl Lumbly stars as Troy Maxson
Carl Lumbly stars as Troy Maxson