August_Wilson*Talented and gifted individuals litter the globe, keeping this world turning by sharing – or having shared, for those who’ve passed on – their abilities with the world in various forms.

But while we pay homage to the immense diversity of art that our creator has so freely given through His chosen agents, there are those who are so gifted till they stand out from all the rest.

There are those individuals who’s offerings are so awe-inspiring, they become iconic for their work … late playwright August Wilson is one of the luminaries in that group.

August Wilson‘s life experiences and the incredibly profound way he perceived them led to him sharing in unparalleled fashion his interpretation of life in a profound part of the 20th Century through the medium of theater, in a way that has had global impact.  The genius of his prose was of such depth and truth till it became one of the loudest voices there ever was in telling “our” stories from socially and politically charged eras gone by.  The importance of his work is well understood by his peers, scholars and especially those who felt that they had no voice during that time.

A two-time Pulitzer prize winner (drama), Wilson’s celebrated work is regarded as being important to the point where it’s been considered sacred … and sacred is always closely guarded, as has been the collection of his offerings, The August Wilson Century Cycle.  His canon of plays that include Fences (’83); The Piano Lesson (’87); Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (’84); Ma Rainey’s Black Book (’82); Gem of the Ocean (”04); Radio Golf (’05); Two Trains (’90); Jitney; King Hedley II (’99); and Seven Guitars (’96) has never been used commercially or had its rights granted for use at all by his estate. His widow, Constanza Romero, also the executor of his estate, is acutely aware of the gravity of what Wilson left behind and has understandably scrutinized every offer, haven never given the green light … until now.

Constanza was recently approached by a group more than worthy to receive a resounding from her and we were on hand at the Lincoln sponsored launch event to hear all the details.

Spearheaded by Tony award-winning actor, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and a group of heavyweight directors including Phylicia Rashad; Kenny Leon; Marion Mclinton; and Stephen McKinley Henderson, this Fall, Lincoln and The Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR will present live dramatic readings of all ten plays in front of a live studio audience and record them for generations to come. The launch event gave those involved the opportunity to relate what Wilson’s work means to them and to eloquently convey their take on the importance of the endeavor.

To be on hand to hear each director passionately relate their feelings about their favorites of Wilson’s plays – and why – and to describe the experiences they’ve had while actually playing roles in one or more of his masterpieces at the event was simply astounding.  It makes the prospect of hearing them done in a meticulously planned fashion in a forum filled with young, fertile minds (will be recorded in front of students), is simple, well, mind-blowing.  More information is forthcoming, but in the meantime visit http://www.thegreenespace.org/.

Also on hand to acknowledge the importance of the undertaking was respected film and television actresses, Leslie Uggams and S. Epatha Merkerson, along with Wilson’s wife, Constanza Romero, and daughter, Azula Carmen Wilson, and a host of his ardent supporters and friends.