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Jitney

By August Wilson

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

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No writer captures the rhythm and musicality of language quite like August Wilson, one of the American theater’s greatest writers. Jitney is the eighth play in his monumental 10-play cycle, which depicts the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th century, and for which he won two Pulitzer Prizes and the Tony Award. Two River’s exciting new production features a stellar company of theater veterans and distinguished Broadway actors, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, one of the preeminent interpreters of Wilson’s work. This powerful and touching story is set in the changing community of 1977 Pittsburgh, in a makeshift storefront depot for gypsy cab drivers. The men share stories and gossip, two young lovers fight for their future, and the station owner confronts his long-estranged son. Wilson illuminates the human condition with an exquisite sense of the poetry of ordinary life. The New York Times raves, “Jitney holds its audience in charmed captivity.”

 

WATCH

Preview Trailer

CRITICAL ACCLAIM

Wonderfully upbeat.

THE STAR-LEDGER

A clear winner

ASBURY PARK PRESS

Two River Theater Company has done it again! Not to be missed!

STAGE MAGAZINE

MEET THE ARTISTS

THE CAST

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.

Anthony Chisholm

Anthony Chisholm returns to Two River, where he played Fielding last season in August Wilson’s Jitney; he won Obie and Drama Desk Awards for the original Off-Broadway production, and also played the role of Fielding at the Mark Taper Forum and in London at the Royal National Theatre (Olivier Award for Best Play). He received a Tony nomination for his performance as Elder Joseph Barlow in August Wilson’s Radio Golf; his other Broadway credits include Wilson’s Two Trains Running and Gem of the Ocean. He is the recipient of NAACP, AUDELCO, Ovation, and IRNE Awards; he has also received nominations for Drama Desk, Drama League, Joseph Jefferson, Ovation, NAACP, and AUDELCO Awards. Mr. Chisholm appeared in The Tracers, Ice Bridge, and King Learfor The Public/NYSF. Other theater credits include The Mighty Gents, Back in the World, Melvin Van Peebles’ Ain’t Supposed To Die a Natural Death (first national tour), and Charles Gordone’s No Place to Be Somebody, as well as Tracers at London’s Royal Court and in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. Regional credits include The Train Driver (Long Wharf), I Am a Man (Goodman), I Just Stopped By to See the Man (Steppenwolf), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Denver Center Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House), Fences (Indiana Rep) and Driving Miss Daisy (Portland Stage). His film/TV credits include 13Blackout, Reign Over Me, Langhorne in Beloved, 100 Center Street (Emmy consideration), Hack(recurring role), Law & Order: SVU, Vietnam War Stories (Cable Ace nomination), Third WatchPremium Rush (currently in release), this year’s Sundance entry Newlyweeds (due for a 2013 release), and HBO’s Ozas series regular Burr Redding.

Chuck Cooper

Chuck Cooper was seen at Two River last season in the new musical In This House and August Wilson’s Jitney. He most recently appeared in Wilson’s The Piano Lessonat the Signature Theatre. He is a veteran of 10 Broadway plays and musicals, and numerous television and film guest lead appearances over the span of his 30 years as a professional actor. He won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a musical for his portrayal of Memphis in The Life. Other Broadway credits include: Finian’s Rainbow;Lennon; Caroline, or Change (AUDELCO Award, Best Featured Actor); Chicago; Passion; Someone to Watch Over Me; Rumors;Amen Corner; Getting Away With Murder. Off-Broadway: Lost In the Stars (Encores); On the Levee (LCT3); Thunder Knocking on the Door (Minetta Lane, AUDELCO nomination); Colored People’s Time(Negro Ensemble Co.); and more.Regional credits include: All My Sons (Intiman); Dance of the Holy Ghosts(Yale Rep); Robeson(Passage Theatre); Othello (New Jersey Shakespeare Festival); Julius Caesar (Philadelphia Drama Guild); Hamlet, Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Theatre, DC); Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, Two Trains Running (San Diego Critics Circle Award, The Old Globe); and more. Television: Gossip Girl; Nurse Jackie; Hack; 100 Centre StreetLaw & Order; SVU; Oz;NYPD Blue; Cosby; New York Undercover; I’ll Fly Away; and more. Film: Boy Wonder; Noise;Evening; American Gangster; Find Me Guilty; Three Days of Rain;The Hurricane;The Opportunists; Gloria; The Juror; North.Mr. Cooper was a Beinecke Fellow at the Yale School of Drama.Favorite role: Eddie, Alex, and Lilli’s father. www.chuckcooper.net. Contact EBONYACTOR@aol.com.

Brandon J. Dirden

BRANDON J. DIRDEN (CAESAR WILKS) 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 nominationHe 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 Julius Caesar. On screen he has appeared in “The Good Wife”, “For Life”, “Evil”, “The Big C”, “Public Morals”, “Manifest”, “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. He has directed numerous plays by Dominique Morisseau and August Wilson and recently Wine in the Wilderness by Alice Childress for Two River Theater. 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 both Actor’s Equity Association and Fair Wage On Stage.    

Roslyn Ruff
Roslyn Ruff
James A. Williams

JAMES A. WILLIAMS (AKA JW) (Solly Two Kings) is a mainstay of Twin Cities theater, a founding member of Penumbra Theatre Company. JW has an extensive performing history in the regional theater circuit. In addition to performing all 10 plays of the August Wilson Canon, JW was in Mr. Wilson’s first professional production “Black Bart and The Sacred Hills” at Penumbra Theatre. The highlight of his stage career is that Mr. Wilson created a character for him (Roosevelt Hicks) in his final play Radio Golf. He was one of three actors to remain with the show from its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theater through its Broadway run.

As Director of Teen Programming at Pillsbury House Theatre, he created The Power of Our Voices, a teen social justice ensemble. James served as Artistic Director for The Hennepin County Home School Theatre Project (a six week playwriting workshop for incarcerated youth). He is currently Artistic Director of The Mill City Players Youth Troupe, using theater to teach communication and life skills to homeless youth. He has led social justice theater workshops at Brown University, Colby College, Macalester College, The University of Minnesota, Penumbra Theatre, The International School of Kenya and Nshupu and Akeri secondary schools in Tanzania.

James was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2005 and named Artist of the Year by The Minneapolis StarTribune in 2008. He is also a 2008 TCG Future Leader of American Theater, a 2015 McKnight Theater Fellow and a 2015 Fox Foundation Distinguished Acting Fellow. JW is also a 2018 Lunt Fontanne Fellow.

In 2012 his alma mater, Macalester College, named Mr. Williams A Distinguished Global Citizen. In 2023 the school bestowed upon him a Doctorate of Humane Letters and renamed the Black Box Theater in his honor.

Allie Woods
Allie Woods

THE CREATIVES

Playwright

August Wilson
August Wilson

AUGUST WILSON (PLAYWRIGHT) (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

Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Ruben Santiago-Hudson returns to Two River, where he directed August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Two Trains Running, and Jitney and his own world-premiere play, Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine. He Broadway production of Jitney won Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. He recently directed and performed his Obie Award-winning solo show Lackawanna Blues at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; his screenplay for the HBO adaptation received the Humanitas Prize, Christopher Award, National Board of Review Honors, and NAACP Image Award, and Emmy, Golden Globe, and Writers Guild of America nominations. Santiago-Hudson made his directorial debut with Gem of the Ocean (McCarter Theatre and American Conservatory Theater). His other recent directing credits include Othello (Delacorte Theater); two world premieres by Dominique Morisseau, Skeleton Crew (Atlantic) and Paradise Blue (Williamstown); Athol Fugard’s My Children! My Africa!, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars and The First Breeze of Summer (all for Signature Theatre Company, where he was an Associate Artist 2008-2009); Quiara Alegria Hudes’ The Happiest Song Plays Last (for Second Stage); Things of Dry Hours (New York Theatre Workshop); and Radio Golf (Kennedy Center). Santiago-Hudson made his Broadway acting debut in Jelly’s Last Jam. His performance in Seven Guitars earned him the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. His recent theater performances include August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned (Signature Theatre), Stick Fly (Broadway), A Winter’s Tale (NYSF), and Gem of the Ocean (Broadway). He was seen on TV in the ABC show Castle as Captain Roy Montgomery for three seasons and most recently on the AMC Drama Low Winter Sun; his other TV credits include: The Family, Billions, Public Morals, The Good Wife, Low Winter Sun, Person of Interest, Forgotten Genius, The West Wing, Law & Order The Red Sneakers, Solomon and Sheba, Rear Window. His film credits include Selma, Their Eyes Were Watching GodAmerican Gangster, Shaft, Devil’s Advocate, and Domestic Disturbance, among many others.  He has been honored with numerous awards, including three Obies, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Dramalogue, Joe A. Calloway Directing Award, Clarence Derwent, and Helen Hayes Awards, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Wayne State University, AUDELCO Awards, a Black Filmmaker’s Award, and an HBO Arts Festival Theater Award. He is the recipient of Honorary Doctorate degrees from both Buffalo State College and Wayne State University. The Ruben Santiago-Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center in Lackawanna, New York was named in his honor.

Scenic Design

Neil Patel
Neil Patel

Neil Patel (Scenic Designer) designed Two River’s production of August Wilson’s Jitney earlier this season. Broadway: Oleanna, [title of show], Ring of Fire, Side Man, ‘night Mother, Wonderland. West End: Side Man, Underneath the Lintel. Off-Broadway: BAM, Second Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, Public Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout, Playwrights Horizons, others. Regional: The Kennedy Center, Arena, Guthrie, Steppenwolf. Center Theatre Group, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, Center Stage, others. Opera: Opera de Montreal, Vancouver Opera, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theater of St Louis, and Nikikai Opera Tokyo. International: RSC, Parco Tokyo, Archa Theatre Prague. Hebbel Theatre Berlin.  Television/Film: In Treatment (HBO), Alone. Dance: Shadowland (Pilobolus). Awards: 2000 EDDY Award; 1996, 2000, 2003, 2009 Drama Desk nominations; 1996 and 2001 Obie for Sustained Excellence; 2008 Helen Hayes Award. 

Costume Design

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 Design

Rui Rita
Rui Rita

Rui Rita has designed the Broadway productions of Velocity of Autumn, Trip to Bountiful, Present Laughter, Dividing the Estate, Old Acquaintance, Enchanted April among others. For Two River he has designed Third, Present Laughter, and August Wilson’s Jitney. His Off-Broadway premieres  include Just Jim Dale (Roundabout), Happiest Song Plays Last (Second Stage), Horton Foote’s Old Friends & The Orphans’ Home Cycle (Hewes Award, Signature), Nightingale, Moonlight and Magnolias  (Manhattan Theatre Club), Big Bill, The Carpetbagger’s Children, Far East (Lincoln Center Theater), The Day Emily Married (Primary Stages), and Dinner with Friends (Variety Arts Center). His Off Broadway revivals include The Piano Lesson (Signature), Talley’s Folly The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Roundabout), and Engaged (Obie Award, Theatre for a New Audience). His regional credits include Alley, Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Center Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Goodman, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, the Shakespeare Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Old Globe, Westport Country Playhouse, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Sound Design

Leon Rothenberg
Leon Rothenberg

Leon Rothenberg For Two River: Present Laughter, Jitney. Select Broadway: The New One, The Waverly Gallery, Boys in the Band, A Doll’s House Part 2, Violet, The Realistic Joneses, The Nance (Tony Award), The Heiress, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Tony nomination). Regional: Arena, ACT, Geffen, Pasadena Playhouse, Huntington, Portland Center Stage, Seattle Rep, La Jolla, Old Globe, Long Wharf, McCarter, Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York Stage and Film, others. Select New York/Off-Broadway: Second Stage, NYCC, MTC, Public Theater, Culture Project, Tectonic. International: Cirque du Soleil. Faculty: CalArts. http://klaxson.net

Original Music

Bill Sims, Jr.
Bill Sims, Jr.

Bill Sims, Jr. is an internationally respected “Master of the Blues.” With the Heritage Blues Orchestra, he was a 2012 Grammy nominee for “And Still I Rise” in the category of Best Blues Album. His recent theater credits include August Wilson’s Two Trains Running and Jitney at Two River and The Piano Lesson at Signature Theatre. Off-Broadway: Lackawanna Blues (Public Theater, Obie Award for Music, 2001), Seven Guitars, The First Breeze of Summer (both Signature), Things of Dry Hours (NYTW). Other theater: Deep Down (INTAR), Gem of the Ocean (McCarter), Crowns (Intiman), Trick the Devil (Freedom Theatre), Moms and Her Ladies (The Producers Club), Polk County (Berkeley Rep). Mr. Sims was the subject of the documentary An American Love Story (PBS) for which he composed many of the songs for the soundtrack. Other film credits: Lackawanna Blues, New York Stories, Miss Ruby’s House, American Gangster, Cadillac Records. His voice can be heard in many TV and radio commercials. His critically acclaimed 1999 CD release Bill Sims (Warner Bros.) demonstrates his knowledge of the many facets of the Blues. Training: Ohio State University. www.heritagebluesorchestra.com

Fight Director

Thomas Schall
Thomas Schall

Thomas Schall has served as fight director on over 70 Broadway shows, among them Six Degrees of Separation, Groundhog Day, Jitney, The Present, The Front Page, The Crucible, Blackbird, War Horse, Of Mice and Men, Romeo and Juliet, Death of a Salesman, Venus in Fur, A View from the Bridge. He has worked extensively at Lincoln Center Theater (Disgraced, Blood and Gifts), The Public Theater (Hamlet, King Lear, Mother Courage), MTC (Ruined, Murder Ballad), New York Theatre Workshop (Red Speedo, Othello) and the Met Opera (Nozze di Figaro, Il Trovatore).

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.

Dates and tickets

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