*One of America’s legendary playwrights, August Wilson, taught the world about Black American life, struggle, success, and spirituality through his timeless work.
And now his collection of plays will be immortalized through a dynamic recording project headed by good friend and understudy, Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
Ruben along with Wilson’s widow, Constanza have banned together with several supporters and iconic actors in an effort to keep Augusts’ spirit alive through a revival of sorts for the August Wilson “American Century Cycle Celebration.”
Beginning August 26th, the collective will begin reading and recording the writer’s plays which will be available through public archives. The event happens at The Green Space, 44 Charlton Street, New York, NY. Tickets are available at thegreenspace.org.
Actors Kenny Leon, Phylicia Rashad, Michelle Shay, will join Ruben as directors along with Taraji P. Henson and Jesse L. Martin.
When asked what his main responsibility is as the artistic director, Ruben explained that his job is to honor the great work of August.
“It’s simply honoring a man who honored a people,” he said. “He talks about the culture. August, honored, loved, our culture and he wanted it to never be forgotten, but placed in a position of the beauty and integrity. So my first position is to honor the work. The goal is to set New York City on fire, to create a dialogue. We need more playwrights, but they’ve got to know what they’re standing on.”
As this project is founded on the transcendence of August Wilson’s work, Ruben emphasized that through his plays, his mentor has rekindled the stories engrained in the fabric of every person of color.
“You can get your Ph.D. You can get your two masters; you can get all these things and speak at universities. Don’t let them teach that out of you. Don’t let them teach what August is giving us out of you,” Ruben added. “We’re saying, get in touch with it. Don’t lose it. Add on to it.”
The August Wilson American Century Cycle Celebration will also include performances from selected high school students in partnership with Kenny Leon’s August Wilson Monologue Competition, in which student compete around the country for a chance to win scholarships.
August Wilson’s work has touched the masses nationally and internationally, connecting with people in from various backgrounds. And through this project, the team hopes to teach the world over and over again about the spiritual stories of Black people in America.
As part of the project’s launch, The Lincoln Motor Company has partnered as a signature sponsor and hosted an exclusive event to introduce the directors and supporters of the project, which was hosted at The Jerome L. Green Space in New York.
Check out the launch party, sponsored by Lincoln Motor Company (photos) here and (video) here.