Two River Theater

Skip to main content Skip to search

COVID-19 Programming and Facility Update: Read more

Jitney

By August Wilson

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

This event has passed

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 made his directing debut at Two River Theater with August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and most recently directed King Hedley II here. He has appeared at Two River in A Raisin in the Sun; August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Jitney; the world premiere of Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine; and Topdog/Underdog, in which he starred opposite his brother Jason Dirden under the direction of the play’s author, Suzan-Lori Parks. An award-winning actor/director, he is perhaps best known for portraying Agent Dennis Aderholt in the acclaimed FX series The Americans. ​Currently, Brandon can be seen in ABC’s new drama For Life. A Morehouse College and University of Illinois graduate, he is also known for appearing on Broadway as Martin Luther King Jr. in the successful Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way opposite Bryan Cranston’s Lyndon B. Johnson. Other Broadway credits include August Wilson’s Jitney (2017 Tony Award for Best Revival), Prelude to a Kiss, Enron and Clybourne Park. In 2012 he was awarded an Obie and a Theatre World Award and was nominated for Drama League and Lucille Lortel Awards for his portrayal of Boy Willie in the Signature Theatre Company revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. Look for his Broadway return this spring in the highly anticipated revival of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out. Brandon is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union for professional actors and stage managers, and he is a frequent volunteer at The 52nd Street Project (52project.org). Brandon is married to actress Crystal Dickinson and currently lives in West Orange, NJ with their five-year-old son, Chase.

Roslyn Ruff
Roslyn Ruff
James A. Williams

James A. Williams is thrilled to return to Two River, where he was previously seen in August Wilson’s Two Trains Running and Jitney. He originated the role of Roosevelt Hicks on Broadway in August Wilson’s Radio Golf. Off-Broadway credits include August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and Athol Fugard’s My Children! My Africa! at Signature Theatre. Regionally, he’s performed at Center Stage, the Goodman Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, McCarter Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage and Yale Repertory Theatre. He was also named 2008 “Artist of the Year” by the Minneapolis StarTribune. James is a 2015 Fox Resident Acting Fellow (Distinguished Achievement) at Pillsbury House Theater in Minneapolis.

Allie Woods
Allie Woods

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

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.

Dates and tickets

This event has passed