Review: RADIO GOLF at A Noise Within

The production runs October 16 through November 13, 2022.

By: Nov. 02, 2022
Review: RADIO GOLF at A Noise Within

There is a reason why August Wilson is one of the more prolifically produced playwrights in modern American theater. He just gets it. Life. Language. History. Struggle. Desire. People.

This can be similarly said for Gregg T. Daniel, one of greater Los Angeles' well-loved actors/directors. And it shows in his latest directorial effort, RADIO GOLF, currently at, A Noise Within.

RADIO GOLF is the final installment in Wilson's Pulitzer-prize-winning, ten-part series, THE CENTURY CYCLE. First performed in 2005 by the Yale Repertory Theatre, then premiering on Broadway in 2007, it is the final, albeit, dramatically thinnest, work about the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th century. RADIO GOLF is also Wilson's last work, completed only months before his death in 2005.

August Wilson has been referred to as the "theater's poet of Black America" which makes a historical comment by New York Times critic Ben Brantley so potent in his assessment of the play in his 2007 review...

"But sadness runs through the liveliness: a throbbing lament for a lost time, a lost civilization, a lost language. The symphonically rich and idiosyncratic talk that once rang through the Hill District of Pittsburgh, the African-American neighborhood where most of Mr. Wilson's work is set, can be heard only faintly now. Pittsburgh, it would seem, has been stripped of its poetry."

Brantley, of course, is referring to the scenario in Wilson's play and the spoken words of the characters. Especially those of Elder Joe whose "speak" is heard by the two younger men sometimes with nostalgia but most often with disrespect. A jargon, nonetheless, that is painfully honest, comically verbose, nonsensical in formation, and completely sage in its observation. In a word - alive. This is the best of RADIO GOLF.

It's 1997 in Pittsburgh's Hill District, where Ivy League-educated developer Harmond Wilk (Christian Telesmar) is determined to gentrify the dilapidated and broken-down neighborhood where he grew up. He and his golfing buddy Roosevelt Hicks (DeJuan Christopher) are on the cusp of finalizing a plan to tear everything down and replace it with an upscale, mixed-use property. In fact, Harmond and his wife, Mame (Sydney A. Mason) are staking his campaign to become the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh on the project's success. That is until Elder Joseph Barlow (Alex Morris) and local handyman Sterling Johnson (Matt Orduña) step in to save a seemingly ramshackle old house from demolition. What follows is an unearthing of culture, morality, reverence, and determination by everyone involved, resolute to see THEIR ending come to fruition.

RADIO GOLF is sleekly hewn in Daniels' capable hands and exceptionally stylized by the creative team with costume designer Mylette Nora, especially pulling out all the visual stops. As are the characters played by every actor in the production. There is a distinct "hanging out in the room with" feeling sitting with these people as they wage a past versus future war over the high stakes in the drama. And make no mistake, the consequences are irrevocable in every direction. But it is Alex Morris as Elder Joseph Barlow who really embodies the full force of the play and its spirit inch to inch.

Dramatically, RADIO GOLF's ending is not particularly clear. There will be another journey, and a cloudy one at that, for all of these people. Sadly, we will see none of it as the poetic chronicling of the playwright has ended. We do, however, have one of the finer memories of this poignant cultural collision thanks to Wilson's preservation of it.


Written by August Wilson
Directed by Gregg T. Daniel
Starring DeJuan Christopher, Sydney A. Mason, Alex Morris, Matt Orduña, Christian Telesmar
Presented by A Noise Within, Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, producing artistic directors

The creative team includes scenic designer Sibyl Wickersheimer; lighting designer Brandon Baruch; sound designer Jeff Gardner; costume designer Mylette Nora; wig and make up designer Shelia Dorn; properties designer Shen Heckel; fight choreographer Kenneth R. Merckx, Jr.; dialect coach Andrea Odinov; and dramaturg Miranda Johnson-Haddad. The production stage manager is Taylor Anne Cullen.

Previews October 16-October 21
Performances October 22-November 13
• Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.: Oct. 19* ONLY (Preview)
• Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.: Oct. 20** (Preview); Nov. 3; Nov. 10 (dark Oct. 27)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Oct. 21 (Preview); Oct. 28***; Nov. 4***; Nov. 11***
• Saturdays at 2 p.m.: Oct. 29; Nov. 5; Nov. 12 (no matinee on Oct. 22)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Oct. 22 (Opening Night); Oct. 29; Nov. 5; Nov. 12
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Oct. 16 (Preview); Oct. 23, Oct. 30***; Nov. 6; Nov. 13

*Tickets to the preview on Wednesday, Oct. 19 include admission to a 6:45 p.m. pre-performance symposium with director Gregg T. Daniel.

**The preview on Thursday, Oct. 20 is "Black Out Night," an opportunity for an audience self-identifying as Black to experience the performance together. Tickets include admission to a post-show reception.

***Tickets to performances on Fridays, Oct. 28; Nov. 4; and Nov. 11, and on Sunday, Oct. 30 will include admission to post-performance conversations with the artists.

There will be two student matinees at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25 and Wednesday, Oct. 26. Interested educators should email

A Noise Within
3352 E Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107

• Tickets start at $25
• Student tickets start at $18
• Friday, Oct. 21: Pay What You Choose starting at $5 (available online beginning the Monday prior to that performance)
• Discounts available for groups of 10 or more

Go to prior to each performance to find up-to-date Covid-19 safety protocols.

(626) 356-3100 or go to

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From This Author - Tracey Paleo

Tracey Paleo is a Los Angeles Theater Critic, a Board Member, and a full-time Voting Member of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle as well as being the current Awards Co-Chair. She is also ... Tracey Paleo">(read more about this author)


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