August Wilson’s crowning achievement is The Pittsburgh Cycle, his series of ten plays that charts the African American experience throughout the twentieth century. All of them are set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District except for one, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is set in Chicago. The cycle is also known as his ‘Century Cycle’. The plays are listed below followed by the year he wrote them, the decade they reflect and a mini plot summary.
Aunt Ester returns in this modern story of city politics and the quest from two monied Pittsburgh men to try and redevelop an area of Pittsburgh.
The plays are not connected in the manner of a serial story but characters do repeatedly appear at different stages of their lives and the offspring of previous characters also feature; the figure of Aunt Ester features most often in the cycle. Another dominating feature of the work is the presence of an apparently mentally-impaired character; examples include Gabriel in Fences and Hedley in Seven Guitars.
Wilson also wrote other plays that are unconnected to the Pittsburgh Cycle - they are listed below with the year he wrote them.
New York City
On October 16, 2005, only 14 days after Wilson's death, the Virginia Theatre in New York's Broadway theatre district was renamed the August Wilson Theatre. This is the first Broadway theatre to bear the name of an African-American.
Currently showing the smash hit musical - Jersey Boys!
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