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Full Cast Announced for SEVEN GUITARS at Arena Stage

Full Cast Announced for SEVEN GUITARS at Arena Stage

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater has announced the company for August Wilson's Seven Guitars. Tazewell Thompson (Arena's Jubilee) will direct this Tony Award-nominated play. Set in 1940s Pittsburgh, seven lives are interconnected when old friend and blues singer Floyd Barton vows to turn his life around after a surprise windfall leaves him hopeful for a second chance.

Seven Guitars is August Wilson's second production in Arena Stage's August Wilson Festival. It runs April 3 - May 3, 2020 in the Fichandler Stage.

"Having directed August Wilson's Fences and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, both at Arena Stage, I'm happy to return with August Wilson's Seven Guitars," explains Thompson. "Wilson, an extraordinary master storyteller and playwright, spinning yarns of African Americans, their rhythms and cycles of life, love, pain, suffering, ecstasy and joy; painting a big picture of his people's courage and folly; capturing their heartbeat and heartache, using his deep and wide imaginative soulful toolbox of blues and jazzy poetic idioms."

"Tazewell Thompson is one of America's best directors today and I'm thrilled to have him back at Arena, directing Seven Guitars as part of our August Wilson Festival," shares Artistic Director Molly Smith. "Tazewell has a beautiful ear for language and brings out stellar performances through actors. He creates graceful imagery in the round. There really could be no better person to bring this important August Wilson play to life."

Returning to Arena Stage are Dane Figueroa Edidi (Choreographer for Arena's Nina Simone: Four Women) as Ruby, Joy Jones (Arena's Jubilee) as Vera, David Emerson Toney (Arena's Two Trains Running) as Hedley and Michael Anthony Williams (Arena's King Hedley II) as Canewell.

Making their Arena Stage debuts include Chris Herbie Holland (Berkeley Repertory's White Noise) as Red Carter, Michael Zachary Tunstill (NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) as Floyd Barton and Roz White (Mosaic Theater Company's Marie and Rosetta) as Louise.

In addition to Thompson, the creative team includes Set Designer Donald Eastman, Costume Designer Harry Nadal, Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel, Sound Designer Fabian Obispo, Wig Designer Anne Nesmith, Casting Directors Victor Vazquez and Geoff Josselson, Stage Manager Christi B. Spann, Assistant Stage Manager Marne Anderson and Directing Assistant Megan Watson.

August Wilson (Playwright)'s plays include: Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson (Pulitzer Prize winner), Seven Guitars, Fences (Pulitzer Prize winner, Tony Award-winner), Two Trains Running, Jitney (Oliver Award-winner), King Hedley II and Radio Golf. In 2003, he made his stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. He received an Emmy Award-nomination for his screenplay The Piano Lesson. Other works include: The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills. Other awards include eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, a Whiting Writers Award, 2003 Heinz Award, 1999 National Humanities Medal and induction into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Tazewell Thompson (Director) is an internationally acclaimed theater and opera director, award-winning playwright, teacher and actor. He has more than 125 directing credits, many world and American premieres, in major opera houses and theaters: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Africa, Japan, Canada and the USA. He served as associate artistic director under Zelda Fichandler and has directed and/or written over 20 productions at Arena Stage, the most recent, his a cappella musical, Jubilee. His award-winning play, Constant Star has had 16 productions in major theaters across the country and his play Mary T. & Lizzy K., commissioned by and produced at Arena Stage, is the recipient of The Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. His production of Porgy and Bess, broadcast live from Lincoln Center, received Emmy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Production. He holds the record of directing three productions: Appomattox/ Philip Glass, Lost in the Stars/ Kurt Weill and Cato in Utica/ Vivaldi, all in the same season in three different theaters at The Kennedy Center. His opera Blue (librettist) with composer Jeanine Tesori, commissioned by Francesca Zambello, had its world premiere, July 2019 at Glimmerglass Festival, followed by productions at Washington National Opera, June 2020 at The Lyric Opera of Chicago and February 2021 at Minnesota Opera.

For full company biographies, please visit


August Wilson's Seven Guitars
Directed by Tazewell Thompson
In the Fichandler Stage | April 3 -May 3, 2020

ABOUT: The 1940s Pittsburgh is the backdrop for August Wilson's fifth cycle play and the second production in the August Wilson Festival. Seven lives are interconnected when old friend and blues singer Floyd Barton vows to turn his life around after a surprise windfall leaves him hopeful for a second chance. Infused with deep and soaring blues rhythms, this "rich and exceptionally vivid" (Variety) play pits the desire for a better future against the harsh realities ultimately leading to heartbreaking and inescapable circumstances.

Ruby: Dane Figueroa Edidi
Red Carter: Chris Herbie Holland
Vera: Joy Jones
Hedley: David Emerson Toney
Floyd Barton: Michael Zachary Tunstill
Louise: Roz White
Canewell: Michael Anthony Williams

Written by: August Wilson
Director: Tazewell Thompson
Set Designer: Donald Eastman
Costume Designer: Harry Nadal
Lighting Designer: Robert Wierzel
Sound Designer: Fabian Obispo
Wig Designer: Anne Nesmith
Casting Directors: Victor Vazquez and Geoff Josselson
Stage Manager: Christi B. Spann
Assistant Stage Manager: Marne Anderson

TICKETS: Tickets for Seven Guitars are $41-95, subject to change and based on availability, plus applicable fees. For information on savings programs such as pay-your-age tickets, student discounts, Southwest Nights and hero's discounts, visit

Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth Street, SW, D.C.

Sales Office/Subscriptions: 202-488-3300
Group Sales Hotline for 10+ Tickets: 202-488-4380
TTY for deaf patrons: 202-484-0247
Info for patrons with disabilities: 202-488-3300

Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Weekday matinees at noon on Wednesday, April 15 and 22 and Tuesday, April 28

Closed captioning: GalaPro begins Friday, April 10
Open-captioned performance: Wednesday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Audio-described performance: Saturday, May 2 at 2 p.m.
Southwest Night: Wednesday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Full Calendar:

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