Tuesday, January 17, 2017


FENCES was the second best movie I saw this year (Denzel Washington starred in it and directed it). (MOONLIGHT was first on my list because I think it has a slight edge artistically).And also it broke new ground with the story it told.
FENCES was a straight-forward account of the life of a fifty-something black man in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. He is not a good man, but you will feel some sympathy for him by the end. Maybe not as much as I think Wilson does though.
Wilson's plays chronicle the lives of African-Americans for the last century. It is not a happy story. But if America has produced one great playwright I would nominated August Wilson as that one. The five plays on this list I have seen were all moving, authentic, truthful, artful. He creates real people with real problems. JITNEY is opening on Broadway now.

Have you seen any August Wilson plays or the movie versions? 


Honors and awards

  • 1986: Whiting Award for Drama
  • 1987: Pulitzer Prize for Drama – Fences
  • 1987: Tony Award for Best PlayFences
  • 1987: Outer Critics Circle AwardFences
  • 1987: Artist of the Year by Chicago Tribune
  • 1988: Literary Lion Award from the New York Public Library
  • 1988: New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play – Joe Turner's Come and Gone
  • 1990: Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Distinguished Pennsylvania Artists
  • 1990: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New PlayThe Piano Lesson
  • 1990: New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play – The Piano Lesson
  • 1990: Pulitzer Prize for Drama – The Piano Lesson
  • 1991: Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame award
  • 1991: St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates[27][28]
  • 1992: American Theatre Critics' Association Award – Two Trains Running
  • 1992: New York Drama Critics Circle Citation for Best American Play – Two Trains Running
  • 1992: Clarence Muse Award
  • 1996: New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play – Seven Guitars
  • 1999: National Humanities Medal
  • 2000: New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play – Jitney
  • 2000: Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play – Jitney
  • 2002: Olivier Award for Best new Play – Jitney
  • 2004: The 10th Annual Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities[29]
  • 2004: The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival Freedom of Speech Award
  • 2005: Make Shift Award at the U.S. Confederation of Play Writers
  • 2006: American Theatre Hall of Fame.[30]

A List o


Jeff Meyerson said...

Yes, with James Earl Jones. And no, not a nice man. I'm sure we'll see the movie version. I am much more interested in seeing MOONLIGHT.

I can't remember for sure about the others - Joe Turner or MA Rainey, perhaps.

George said...

August Wilson took a lot of heat for his plays. His vision of Black Life in America is sometimes stark and brutal. I've seen Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1984), Joe Turner's Come and Gone (1984), and I plan to see Fences (1987) this week. I read the plays before I see the movie or play performed.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I would like to get a collection of them and read straight through. But I would like to do a lot of things I don't.

Charles Gramlich said...

Afraid not

George said...

Patti, the Century Cycle of August Wilson can be yours for only $200! https://www.amazon.com/August-Wilson-Century-Cycle/dp/155936307X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484677816&sr=1-2&keywords=august+wilson+plays
Or, you can ask your local Public Library to buy it.

Rick Robinson said...

I think the last play I saw was Jumpers, by Tom Stoppard. That was a long time ago.

J F Norris said...

I've seen four and felt that RADIO GOLF was the least compelling for me. I was actually bored by most of it. Saw the original production at Goodman before it went to Broadway. Nearly all of his plays premiered in regional theaters a year or two before being mounted on Broadway. My favorite is THE PIANO LESSON which deservedly won a Pulitzer. Trenchant and resonant and transcendent, I think, in a way so few American playwrights ever come close to achieving. JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE is my second favorite but mostly because of the powerhouse performance of the lead actor I saw. I think it was Charles Dutton, could've been a local Chicago actor. Can't remember.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, THE PIANO LESSON was also my favorite.