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August Wilson

Bio

August Wilson

August Wilson

AUGUST WILSON (1945-2005) was one of America’s greatest playwrights. He is renowned for his Pittsburgh Cycle (or Century Cycle), 10 plays that explore the black experience with each play taking place in a different decade of the twentieth century. Those plays, in order of the decades in which they are set, are Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson (Pulitzer Prize), Seven Guitars, Fences (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award), Two Trains Running, Jitney (Great Britain’s Olivier Award), King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. Wilson (1945-2005) was born in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, and with the exception of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is set in Chicago, all the plays in the cycle take place in his hometown. In 1999, Wilson was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Bill Clinton. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2007, he was posthumously inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. On October 16, 2005, just two weeks after the playwright’s death, the Virginia Theatre on West 52nd Street was renamed the August Wilson Theatre.

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