New in 2016 The owner of a gypsy cab station is in danger of losing his business to urban renewal in the Broadway debut of August Wilson's earliest play.
From the producers: Set in the early 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss' son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last.
Tony-winning playwright August Wilson has received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama for his plays "Fences" and "The Piano Lesson." "Jitney" is the eighth play in Wilson's "Pittsburgh Cycle," also known as "The American Century Cycle." consisting of ten plays - nine of which are set in Pittsburgh's Hill District. After extensive re-writes, the play opened at the Pittsburgh Public Theater in 1996, followed by an Off-Broadway run at the Second Stage Theatre in 2000. This production marks the play's first appearance on Broadway.
Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson has his own history with Wilson's work, winning a Tony for his performance in Wilson’s "Seven Guitars." He also appeared in Wilson’s "Gem of the Ocean" on Broadway and directed his "The Piano Lesson" Off Broadway.
What's Manhattan Theatre Club? One of three not-for-profit organizations that produce a season on Broadway each year, MTC also has two smaller stages at City Center, where they produce mostly modern plays (and sometimes musicals) in a fairly conventional style. More here.
Glorious...acted by an impeccably tuned ensemble, this early work from an American master makes you realize how much the New York theater has missed the voice of Wilson. Conversation becomes performance art, and part of the pleasure of watching this peerless cast is the delight its characters take in listening to the others riffing. "Jitney" is a lament that has the affirmative ring of celebration.
Intelligent, thought-provoking...by turns hilarious and devastating, this is an emotionally bruising gem of a play. Wilson's dialogue captures the cadences of the day in a manner both timely and timeless. The talented cast soars under the confident direction of Santiago-Hudson. From the stellar performances to the sharp script, "Jitney" is a substantial piece, and a breath of fresh air to boot.