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August Wilson's King Hedley II

Directed by Brandon J. Dirden

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The year is 1985 and Pittsburgh’s Hill District has been ravaged by violence, unemployment, and urban blight. King Hedley II returns to his home after a seven-year prison term looking to re-build his life, save some money, and start a family. However, both he and those around him quickly find that in 1980s America, the rules have changed.

Official Trailer

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CRITICAL ACCLAIM

compelling” & “an awesome ensemble

ASBURY PARK PRESS

exciting” & an “immensely valuable theater experience

THE STAR LEDGER

King Hedley II” Reigns at Two River Theater

SCENE ON STAGE

experience theater at its finest

BROADWAY WORLD

speaks of the hope of redemption

OUT IN NJ

bios

THE CAST

Brittany Bellizeare

Brittany Bellizeare (CYNTHIA) is a native of Philadelphia who currently resides in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Some of her New York City credits include the Off-Broadway production of Charly Evon Simpson’s new play sandblasted (Angela) co-produced by Vineyard Theatre and WP Theatre, FAT HAM (Opal, short term u/s), an audio play Retreat (Constance), Blacken the Bubble (Kanese), A Raisin in the Sun (Beneatha) and various festivals including The Fire This Time, 48 Hours in… Harlem, NY Fringe, and Samuel French. Regionally she’s worked at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Two River Theatre in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars (Ruby) and King Hedley II (Tonya), The Geva Theatre Center: The Magician’s Daughter (Miranda), The Portland Center Stage (Oregon) JAW Festival: three girls never learnt the way home (Edith), Baltimore Center Stage: Skeleton Crew (Shanita), The Guthrie: The Bluest Eye (Pecola), where she was named one of the Top 10 Actors of the Decade in The Star Tribune (Dec 2019), TheaterWorks Hartford: Sunset Baby (Nina), a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Theatre: The Last Tiger in Haiti (Rose) [NAACP Theatre for Best Ensemble nomination] and Northern Stage: Its a Wonderful Life, a radio play (Mary) and The Mountaintop (Camae). Her TV credits include The Equalizer, American Rust, The Blacklist, Eye Candy, and The Knick. For film she’s appeared in shorts “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” [which was featured on Issa Rae’s YouTube Channel for #ShortFilmSundays], “Everything Absolutely” and “But Rosita, I love you” to name a few. She received her MFA in Acting from The New School for Drama and her BS in Mathematics from Spelman College. www.brittanybellizeare.com 

Harvy Blanks

Harvy Blanks appeared on Broadway as Shealy in the Tony-winning production of Jitney. Off-Broadway, he received the Drama Desk Award for his performance in Tabletop. Other Off-Broadway credits include First Breeze of Summer and The Guest at Central Park West. His regional appearances include Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow (Williamstown), Familiar (Yale Rep, The Guthrie and Seattle Rep) and Fire on the Mountain (TheatreWorks Palo Alto). At the Denver Center he starred in Ruined, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Gem of the Ocean, Seven Guitars and Radio Golf, among others. Harvy can be seen this season in Terrence Nance’s Random Acts of Flyness (HBO). His other television appearances include Preacher and Crime Story. He is very happy to return to Two River where he appeared in Jitney, Two Trains Running and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Brian D. Coats

Brian D. Coats Broadway: Jitney. He was previously seen at Two River Theater in Seven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Off-Broadway includes: Travisville (Ensemble Studio Theatre), La Ruta (Working Theater), The First Noel (Classical Theatre of Harlem/The Apollo), On the Levee (Lincoln Center), The Merry Wives of Windsor, Two Gentlemen of Verona (Public/ NYSF). Regional: The Royale (Cleveland Play House), The Nest (Denver Center Theatre), Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (Huntington Theatre, Studio Theatre DC), Fences, A Raisin in the Sun (Geva Theatre), Distant Fires (People’s Light and Theatre), Clybourne Park (Caldwell Theatre), The Wedding Gift, pen/man/ship (Contemporary American Theatre Fest), Count (PlayMakers Rep). TV includes: Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, JAG, Blue Bloods, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Luke Cage, and The Blacklist.

Elain Graham

Elain Graham is pleased to be back at Two River Theater, where she was seen as Mrs. Dickson in the critically acclaimed production of Intimate Apparel. Other stage credits include: Intimate Apparel, Dorset Theatre Festival; Dolores, While I Yet Live, Primary Stages; The Picture Box, Negro Ensemble Company; Mum in SoHo Rep’s critically acclaimed Born Bad; The Woman in Lynn Nottage’s Banana Beer Bath, Going to the River Festival/EST; Lena Younger, A Raisin in the Sun, Virginia Stage Company; Permanent Collection, Baltimore Center Stage; Mama Benin, Playboy of the West Indies, Lincoln Center. Film/Television: The Last O.G., The Breaks, The Detour, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, 666 Park Avenue, Smash, Unforgettable, Across the Universe, City Teacher, Arthur!: A Celebration of Life, The Jury, Messengers, 100 Centre Street, Oz, Third Watch, Turn It Up. She was also Etta Mae Burrell on the daytime soap opera, Another World.

Charlie Hudson III

Charlie Hudson III is thrilled to be appearing again at Two River, where he was previously seen in A Raisin in the Sun and Seven Guitars. Previous shows include Detroit ’67 (Playmakers Rep); The Mountaintop (Northern Stage); Father Comes Home from the Wars (American Repertory Theatre); A Raisin in the Sun (Barrymore Theatre, Broadway); The Raisin Cycle: Clybourne Park & Beneatha’s Place (Baltimore Centerstage); Hurt Village (Signature); Fences (Virginia Stage); The Piano Lesson (Yale Rep); Bike Wreck (Ensemble Studio Theatre); White Women Street (Irish Rep); “Master Harold”…and the boys (Portland Stage); Fly (Crossroads and Vineyard Playhouse); A Raisin in the Sun, Richard III, A Christmas Carol, All the King’s Men, Cyrano de Bergerac (Trinity Rep); Hillary (New Georges); Old Comedy (Classic Stage); Mother Courage (Public Theater/NYSF); Sweet Bird of Youth (Williamstown); Romeo and Juliet (Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble); Julius Caesar, Topdog/Underdog (Brown/ Trinity Consortium). TV includes: Manifest, The Night Of, Shades of Blues, The Good Fight, Unforgettable, Forever, The Rosa Parks Story, and A Raisin in the Sun “Revisited.” Film credits include Roxanne Roxanne; Complete Unknown; Twelve; Newlyweeds; Lillian; and his voice is featured in the McGraw-Hill’s PodClass GRE Vocabulary Study Guide. Mr. Hudson is the 2003 KC/ACTF Irene Ryan Best Actor Award winner (Region IV) and is a graduate of Alabama State University and the Brown University/Trinity Repertory Consortium. Charlie would like to thank God for this opportunity and his loving family for their support.

Blake Morris

Blake Morris Off-Broadway: Ain’t No Mo’ (The Public Studio), Kings of Harlem (New Horizon Theater). Festivals: New Black Fest, 48 Hrs. in Harlem, NYSAF Reading Series. TV: Pose (FX), Jessica Jones (Netflix).

THE CREATIVES

Playwright

August Wilson
August Wilson

AUGUST WILSON (April 27, 1945-October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African-Americans, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century. His plays have been produced at regional theaters across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway. In 2003, Mr. Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Mr. Wilson’s works garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987); and for The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney; as well as eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney, and Radio Golf. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson’s early works included the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills. Mr. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwrighting, the Whiting Writers Award, 2003 Heinz Award, was awarded a 1999 National Humanities Medal by the President of the United States, and received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and on October 16, 2005, Broadway renamed the theater located at 245 West 52nd Street – The August Wilson Theatre. Additionally, Mr. Wilson was posthumously inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2007. Mr. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lived in Seattle, Washington at the time of his death. He is immediately survived by his two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero.

Director

Brandon J. Dirden
Brandon J. Dirden

Brandon J. Dirden is truly grateful to be returning to Red Bank.  Wine in the Wilderness marks his fourth time directing for Two River Theater. Previously, Brandon made his directorial debut with August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and followed that up with King Hedley II and last season’s Radio Golf.  As an actor, he has been seen in the Two River Theater acclaimed productions of Topdog UnderdogJitney, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the world premiere of Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine by Ruben Santiago Hudson and A Raisin in the Sun. Brandon most recently appeared on Broadway starring in the Tony Award-winning production of Take Me Out and Skeleton Crew for which he received a Drama Desk nomination.  He also appeared on Broadway as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Tony Award-winning production of All the Way, with Bryan Cranston, as ‘Booster’; the Tony Award-winning revival of August Wilson’s Jitney; Clybourne Park; Enron; and Prelude to a Kiss. Off-Broadway, he has appeared in The Piano Lesson, for which he won Obie, Theatre World and AUDELCO awards; The First Breeze of Summer and Day of Absence at Signature Theatre; Detroit ’67 at the Public Theater and Classical Theatre of Harlem; Peter and the Starcatcher at New York Theatre Workshop and as ‘Brutus’ in TFANA’s production of Juilius Caesar. On screen he has appeared in The Good Wife, For Life, Evil, The Big C, Public Morals, Mainifest, The Get Down, The Accidental Wolf, Blue Bloods, The Quad, the FX miniseries Mrs. America and four seasons of FX’s The Americans as Agent Dennis Aderholt.  Brandon is an Associate Arts Professor on the faculty of Tisch Grad Acting at NYU; a frequent volunteer at the 52nd Street Project; and a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association. 

Scenic Degisner

Michael Carnahan
Michael Carnahan

Michael Carnahan previously designed The Ballad of Little JoYour Blues Ain’t Sweet Like MineThirdOn Borrowed Time, and August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and Two Trains Running at Two RiverOff-Broadway—Atlantic Theater Company: Skeleton Crew; 59E59: I and You; Second Stage: The Happiest Song Plays Last; Signature Theatre: The Piano LessonThe First Breeze of Summer; Life Could Be a DreamThe Marvelous WonderettesThree Mo’ TenorsPygmalionHowie the RookieBrando. Tours—Cheers, Live On StageA Christmas Story The Musical, Peter & The Starcatcher. Regional credits include Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, The Kennedy Center, McCarter Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Pasadena Playhouse, Two River Theatre, Chautauqua Theater Company, Cleveland Play House, Detroit Public Theater, Laguna Playhouse, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Northlight Theatre, Signature Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, Ogunquit Playhouse, Arsht Center, Musical Theatre West, San Jose Repertory, Center Repertory. michaelcarnahandesign.com Instagram: Carnypics Twitter: @mike_carnahan

Costume Designer

Karen Perry
Karen Perry

KAREN PERRY (Costume Designer) previously designed August Wilson’s King Hedley IIMa Rainey’s Black BottomJitneyTwo Trains Running, Seven Guitars and Radio Golf at Two River, as well as Love in Hate NationOo-Bla-DeeLives of ReasonYour Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, Guadalupe in the Guest RoomThird and Trouble in Mind. Her most recent credits include Run-Boy-Run & In Old Age (New York Theatre Workshop), Mothers (Playwrights Realm), Jazz (MTC), Lackawanna Blues with Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Mark Taper Forum), Fun Home (Baltimore Center Stage), Steel Magnolias, Hair, Dreamgirls (DTC), Oklahoma! (Houston Ballet at TUTS) and Cinderella Ballet (Eglevsky Ballet Company). Other credits include Danai Gurira’s Familiar (Woolly Mammoth, Guthrie, Seattle Rep), Cabin in the Sky (Encores!), Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky (Pasadena Playhouse), John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, dir. Ethan McSweeny (Arena), Crownsstop. reset, Trinity River Trilogy by Regina Taylor (Goodman, STC, DTC/Arena), The Trip to Bountiful, Walter Mosley’s The Fall of Heaven, dir. Marion McClinton (Cincinnati Playhouse), The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell McCraney, dirs. Tina Landau and Robert O’Hara (The Public/McCarter), Having Our Say by Emily Mann (McCarter), and Resurrection by Daniel Beaty (Arena). She has designed every play in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle except Fences. Film/TV credits include Gregory Hines ShowSaturday Night Live, and The Brother from Another Planet by director John Sayles. Wine in the Wildness is proudly Karen’s 14th production with TRTC. Currently: Raisin in the Sun @ the Public Theater.

Lighting Designer

Kathy A. Perkins
Kathy A. Perkins

Kathy A. Perkins (LIGHTING DESIGNER) has designed lighting for Broadway (Trouble in Mind), Off-Broadway, and regional theatres such as American Conservatory Theatre, Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory, Seattle Repertory, St. Louis Black Repertory, Alliance, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Baltimore Center Stage, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, New Federal Theatre, Mark Taper, Yale Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, People’s Light, and Playmakers Repertory.

As a scholar, she is the editor of seven anthologies focusing on women both nationally and internationally, including Selected Plays: Alice Childress.  She is a senior editor of the Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance. 

Kathy has traveled to nearly fifty countries as both designer and lecturer and is the recipient of numerous research and design awards, including Ford Foundation, Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and an NAACP Image Award.  She received the 2021 United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Distinguished Achievement Award for both Education and Lighting Design.

In 1995, Kathy co-curated ONSTAGE: A Century of African American Stage Design at New York’s Lincoln Center.  In 2016 she served as theatre consultant for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture inaugural exhibition Taking the Stage.

In 2007 she was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. She received her BFA from Howard University and her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan.

Kathy is faculty Emerita at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sound Designer

Kay Richardson
Kay Richardson

Kay Richardson (SOUND DESIGNER) is a two-time Suzi Bass nominated Sound Designer and Audio Engineer. Wine in the Wilderness marks Kay’s return to the Two River family. Regional Theatre designs include: The Hound of the Baskervilles at Alpine Theatre Project in Whitefish, MT, August Wilson’s Radio Golf and King Hedley II at Two River Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, Eclipsed at Synchronicity Theatre, Thurgood at Theatrical Outfit, Between Riverside & Crazy, Smart People, Fetch Clay Make Man and Gut Bucket Blues at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company all in Atlanta, GA. Additional design work includes: A Man of No Importance, Spring Awakening, The Colored Museum, A Song for Coretta, and Seven Guitars. Kay has toured in all 50 of the United States and in over 45 countries mixing live sound for musicals and concerts. Currently she is the Sound Supervisor at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts in Princeton, NJ.

Wigs Designer

Erin Hicks
Erin Hicks

Erin Hicks grew up in Harlem, NY. She began styling hair as an assistant on The Winter’s Tale at the New York Shakespeare Festival, starring Alfre Woodard, Mandy Patinkin, and Diane Venora. Over the last 20 years she has worked on various Broadway, film and TV shows. This is Erin’s fifth show at Two River, following Guadalupe in the Guest Room and August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and King Hedley II.

Fight Direction

UnkleDave’s Fight-House
UnkleDave’s Fight-House

UnkleDave’s Fight-House UnkleDave’s Fight-House is a Drama Desk Award-nominated company of fight directors founded by Dave Anzuelo. The core members of the team are Jesse Geguzis, Gerry Rodriguez, Sean Fletcher and Aldo Uribe. Two River Theater credits: El Coqui Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom, Be More Chill, Seven Guitars, A Raisin in the Sun. Broadway credits: Escape to Margaritaville (Marquis), Tuck Everlasting (Broadhurst), An American in Paris (Palace), Disgraced (Lyceum). Off-Broadway: Girl from the North Country; Mother of the Maid and Oedipus El Rey (Public Theater), Downtown Race Riot (New Group). Regional: Oklahoma! (Goodspeed). National Tour: An American in Paris. London: Buried Child.

Casting

Heidi Griffiths
Heidi Griffiths

Heidi Griffiths has worked for more than 25 years at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in NYC, where she has cast over 200 productions Off-Broadway and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, including Shakespeare, new plays, and musicals. On Broadway: The Girl From The North Country; The Inheritance; The Iceman Cometh; Sweat; Shuffle Along; The Crucible, Eclipsed; A Delicate Balance; A Raisin in the Sun; Lucky Guy; Chinglish; The Motherf**ker with the Hat; The Merchant of Venice; Hair; Passing Strange; Caroline, or Change; Take Me Out (Tony Award, Best Play 2003); Topdog/Underdog (Pulitzer Prize, 2002); The Wild Party; Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk; On the Town; and The Tempest. She also cast the films The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love, MURDER and murder, Saving Face and Ladybird. Radio Golf is her 12th collaboration with Two River Theater.

Kate Murray
Kate Murray

Two River Theater: TheoKing Hedley IIThe Importance of Being EarnestThe Women of Padilla, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Seven GuitarsYour Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, and The School for Wives. Broadway (as Casting Associate): The CrucibleA View from the Bridge, A Delicate Balance, A Raisin in the SunLucky Guy (Casting Assistant). Additional casting credits include work with Arena Stage, Center Theater Group, The Cherry Lane, Bedlam, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, LAByrinth, New Georges, TheaterWorks Hartford, and The Studio TheatreKate is a Casting Director at The Public Theater.

Production Stage Manager

Laura Wilson
Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson Previously at TRT: Ma Rainey’s Black BottomSeven Guitars, Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, Third, No Place to Go. Broadway: Roman Holiday (OOT Tryout), Jitney, All The Way, First Date, A Free Man of Color, The People in the Picture. Off-Broadway: Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre); School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (MCC); Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company); Exit Strategy (Primary Stages); The Really Big Once, A Family of Perhaps Three (Target Margin Theater). Regional: Bull Durham (Alliance Theatre); Guys and Dolls (Riverside Theatre); The Three Sisters, The Boys from Syracuse, and Things of Dry Hours (Centerstage, Baltimore); Tom Stoppard’s On the Razzle (Clarence Brown Theatre).

Dates and tickets

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