Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play, Fences is the sixth chapter in August Wilson’s groundbreaking ten-play cycle of the African-American experience in the 20th century and the ninth of his plays to be staged by the Huntington Theatre Company, one of Wilson’s longstanding artistic homes.
When his rise through the Negro baseball leagues hit the ceiling of racial prejudice, Troy Maxson turned away from a world of unfulfilled promises and denied opportunities. But in 1957, his son Cory, an emerging football star, sees the world through very different eyes, and his wife Rose yearns for an outlet for her love.
Playwright August Wilson was the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, a Tony Award, an Olivier Award, and eight Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for the ten chapters of his groundbreaking decade-by-decade exploration of the heritage and experience of African-Americans in the 20th century. The Huntington played an integral part in Wilson’s play development process, producing eight of his ten works before transferring them to New York: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone-1910s (1986), The Piano Lesson-1930s (1987), Two Trains Running-1960s (1990), Seven Guitars-1940s (1995), Jitney-1970s (1998), King Hedley II-1980s (2000), Gem of the Ocean-1900s (2004), and Radio Golf-1990s (2006). Wilson died in 2005, just after completing Radio Golf, his final chapter.
Director Kenny Leon was Wilson’s final collaborator and has directed all ten of Wilson’s plays. His relationship with the Huntington began in 1993 when he helmed From the Mississippi Delta. Other productions for the Huntington include A Raisin in the Sun with Esther Rolle (1995) and Blues for an Alabama Sky (1997) with Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad. For the Huntington and then on Broadway, he directed Gem of the Ocean with Rashad (2004) and Radio Golf (2006). In 2008, he served as Artistic Director of August Wilson’s 20th Century at The Kennedy Center, a six-week festival staging readings of the works with sets, costumes, and lighting. Leon is the founding artistic director of True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta and served as artistic director of Alliance Theatre. He directed the 2004 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival and the Emmy Award-nominated television film of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun starring Sean Combs, Rashad, and Audra McDonald.
John Beasley leads the cast in the role of Troy and makes his Huntington debut. He previously performed the role in The Kennedy Center’s August Wilson’s 20th Century, at the New American Theatre, and at the John Beasley Theatre, of which he is the founder. Other regional credits include August Wilson’s Two Trains Running (Goodman Theatre, dir. Lloyd Richards), Jitney (Alliance Theatre, dir. Kenny Leon), and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (JBT). He has starred in over 35 films including Rudy and The Apostle and appeared on television for four years on the WB’s Everwood.
Brandon J. Dirden plays the role of Lyons, Troy’s son from a previous marriage. On Broadway, he appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival production of Prelude to a Kiss; Off Broadway, he appeared in The First Breeze of Summer (Signature Theatre).
Crystal Fox returns to the Huntington having previously appeared in Blues for an Alabama Sky in 1997 to play Rose, Troy’s wife. Fox’s credits include Gem of the Ocean at Seattle Repertory Theatre; A Raisin in the Sun, Comedy of Errors, and The Piano Lesson at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Seven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Alliance Theatre; and the film Driving Miss Daisy.
Eugene Lee plays Bobo, Troy’s friend and fellow garbage collector. Mr. Lee previously appeared at the Huntington in Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean. His regional credits include August Wilson’s 20th Century at The Kennedy Center; August Wilson’s Two Trains Running at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre; and Home, Sons, and Fathers of Sons with the Negro Ensemble Theatre, of which he was a member.
Warner Miller plays Cory, Troy and Rose’s son. He recently appeared in The Old Globe’s premiere of Since Africa. Other credits include August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Syracuse Stage) and The Piano Lesson (Geva Theatre and Indiana Repertory Theatre).
Bill Nunn plays Gabriel, Troy’s brother. Mr. Nunn’s many credits include A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway, August Wilson’s 20th Century at The Kennedy Center, and the Spider-Man films.