Broadway Features and Reviews
Denzel Washington Readies "Fences" On Broadway
By Lauren Mastro, Broadway Magazine
"Death ain't nothing but a fastball on the outside corner," says Troy Maxson in Fences. August Wilson's Tony Award-winning drama Fences is poised to grace the Broadway stage during a 13-week run beginning in April.
The original production was performed at the 46th Street Theatre in 1987 and featured acclaimed narrator and actor James Earl Jones in the lead role. The plot revolves around the evolving dynamics of African American culture in Pittsburgh during the 1950s. Economic struggle, tense relationships and personal sacrifice plague Wilson's characters, yet they all strive to find meaning and stability in their lives.
Fences is the sixth component of Wilson's ten-part compilation The Pittsburgh Cycle. It received a coveted Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama and a Tony Award for Best Play in 1987. The talent and experience of the revival's cast and crew promise to make this Broadway run just as successful.
Academy Award winner Denzel Washington stars as slightly disillusioned dream- chaser and sanitation worker Troy Maxson. Washington has been widely recognized for his films that analyze race relations, such as Remember the Titans and The Great Debaters. He most recently produced and appeared in the action drama The Book of Eli.
The versatile actor's role in Fences will add to his resume of previous Broadway stage credits, which include the revival of Julius Caesar in 2005 and the original production of the comedy Checkmates in 1988.
Washington will be joined by veteran Tony Award winner and Academy Award nominee Viola Davis, who will play Troy's deeply compassionate wife Rose. Davis has appeared on the Broadway stage as Vera in Seven Guitars in 1996, and as Tonya in King Hedley II in 2001. Both plays were also written by August Wilson and received multiple Tony and Drama Desk nominations, including the Tony nomination for Best Play.
Stephen McKinley Henderson adds to the star- studded strength of this production as Troy's devoted friend and confidante Jim Bono. Henderson similarly has theatrical experience in Wilson's works, appearing alongside Davis as Stool Pigeon in King Hedley II, and as Slow Drag in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom in 2003.
Fences director Kenny Leon is also no stranger to Wilson's exceptional works. He directed Gem of the Ocean in 2004 and 2005, and Radio Golf in 2007. Both productions received a slew of Tony Award nominations during their respective runs, including for Best Play. Leon has directed the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun in 2004, which similarly received a Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Play.
Broadway newcomer Chris Chalk (MTC's Ruined) will be a fresh asset to the cast as Troy's son Cory, who dreams of earning a football scholarship despite battling racial and personal challenges. Russell Hornsby (ABC's Lincoln Heights) and Mykelti Williamson (Fox's 24 and Forrest Gump) will be joining the cast as Lyons and Gabriel.
Carole Shorenstein Hays, who produced the original Broadway production of Fences, will produce the revival along with Scott Rudin.
Fences will begin previews on April 14 and open for a 13-week run on April 26 at the Cort Theatre. Tickets may be purchased online at www.telecharge.com, by calling (212)239-6262 or by visiting the box office at 138 West 48th St. For more information, visit www.fencesonbroadway.com.
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