Denzel Washington and Viola Davis received Tony Award nominations for Fences

*The star power of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis brought out the crème de la crème of New York and Hollywood luminaries to the starry but rainy Opening Night of August Wilson’s poignant play Fences at the Cort Theatre (138 West 48th Street) on Monday, April 26, 2010 for a strictly limited 13-week engagement through July 11, 2010.  The dynamic duo did not disappoint their guests delivering dazzling performances.

Two-time Academy Award-winner Washington and Tony Award-winner and Academy Award-nominee Davis add new depth to Wilson’s classic 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play.  History repeats itself in more ways than one as both Washington and Davis have received Tony Award nominations for their over-the-top performances.

Brilliantly directed by Kenny Leon, Fences tells the story of Troy Maxson, a man torn between the glory of his past and the uncertainty of his future. Emboldened by pride and embittered by sacrifice, he is determined to make life better for future generations, even as he struggles to embrace the dreams of his own son.

In addition to Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson and Viola Davis as Rose Maxson, the cast features Chris Chalk as Cory, Stephen McKinley Henderson as Jim Bono, Russell Hornsby as Lyons, Mykelti Williamson as Gabriel, and with Eden Duncan-Smith and SaCha Stewart-Coleman alternating in the role of Raynell.

Fences cast takes bow at Opening Night Curtain Call

Fences is produced by Carole Shorenstein Hays (who produced the original Broadway production) Richard Rodgers Theatre).  At that time, the explosive play was one of the most critically acclaimed and successful plays of the 1980s, winning four Tony Awards including Best Play, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, three Drama Desk Awards, including Best Play and the NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.

The 2010 Tony nominated production team includes Branford Marsalis (original music), Santo Loquasto (set design), Constanza Romero (costume design), Brian MacDevitt (lighting design), and ACME Sound Partners (sound design).  Tickets for the play are available by calling Telecharge.com and at the Cort Theatre box office.

After numerous thunderous curtain calls, guests mended fences at the Bryant Park Grill where they let their hair down at a fabulous post party celebration that featured top notch food, booze and a DJ who rocked the dance floor.  What a party!  What a play!  (Photos by Walter McBride and Ronnie Wright – Scroll down for MORE photos)

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Fences earns Tony nominations for co-stars Denzel Washington & Viola Davis

Fences starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis and presented by Carole Shorenstein Hays and Scott Rudin received 10 Tony nominations.  Both Washington and Davis received nominations in the leading actor/actress category for their powerful performances in August Wilson’s play at The Cort Theatre, 138 West 48th Street, Times Square.  Both Washington and Davis joined their fellow nominated thespians at a “Meet the Nominees Press Reception” on Wednesday, May 5 at The Millennium Broadway Hotel.

“Being on Broadway, and in the theater community as a whole, is like coming home again for me, and sharing a Tony nomination for “Fences,” with so many wonderfully talented people associated with this play, makes it seem like one big family reunion,” noted a thankful Washington.  “I am so happy to be back ‘home’ again on stage, in this play, with these actors and to be recognized is icing on the cake!  I am very, very grateful!” stated a humble Davis.

Audrey J. Bernard

The play was also recognized for Best Original Score (Branford Marsalis); Best Featured Actor (Stephen McKinley Henderson); Best Direction (Kenny Leon); Best Scenic Design (Santo Loquasto); Best Costume Design (Constance Romero); Best Lighting (Brian MacDevitt); and Best Sound (Acme Sound Partners).

Winners will be announced during The American Theatre Wing’s 64th Annual Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS, Sunday, June 13, 2010, 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT time delay).

The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards are bestowed annually on theatre professionals for distinguished achievement.  The Tony is one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry and the annual telecast is considered one of the most prestigious programs on television.

The nominees were selected by an independent committee of 27 theatre professionals appointed by the Tony Awards Administration Committee.  The 2010 Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing and sponsored by IBM.  (Photo by Walter McBride)

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.

Fences plays The Cort Theatre

Anthony Mackie, Chris Rock & Malaak Compton-Rock

Michael Jai White & his beautiful wife

Fences' producer Carole Shorenstein Hays