August Wilson photo by David Cooper.
August Wilson (Playwright), April 27, 1945—Oct. 2, 2005, was the author of 10 plays about the African-American experience, each one set in a different decade of the 20th Century. His early years were spent in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, the setting for all but one of his plays. Jitney, the first in order of composition, had its world premiere at the Allegheny Repertory Theater in 1981; subsequent productions of a revised version of the play were produced at theaters around the country, and it had its New York premiere at the Second Stage Theatre in 2000. His plays have been produced across the United States, as well as on Broadway and all over the world. The other plays in the Cycle are Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. In 2003, he made his professional stage debut as an actor in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes (for Fences and The Piano Lesson), a Tony Award for Fences, Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney, and many other honors, fellowships, and honorary degrees. Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre on West 52nd Street was renamed in his honor on October 16, 2005.
Ruben Santiago-Hudson photo by Mike McLaughlin.
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Director) is currently starring on Broadway in the new play Stick Fly. He won an Obie Award and critical acclaim for his solo show Lackawanna Blues, and his screenplay for the HBO adaptation received the Humanitas Prize, Christopher Award, National Board of Review Honors, and NAACP Image Award; and Emmy, Golden Globe, and Writers Guild of America nominations. He made his directorial debut with Gem of the Ocean (McCarter Theatre and American Conservatory Theater). His directing credits include Things of Dry Hours (New York Theatre Workshop), Radio Golf (Kennedy Center), Seven Guitars and The First Breeze of Summer (both for Signature Theatre Company, where he was an Associate Artist 2008-2009). Santiago-Hudson made his Broadway acting debut in Jelly’s Last Jam. His performance in Seven Guitars earned him the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. His most recent theater performances include A Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare in the Park) and Gem of the Ocean (Broadway). His film credits include Their Eyes Were Watching God, American Gangster, Mr. Brooks, Shaft, Devil’s Advocate, Domestic Disturbance, and The Invention of Lying. He was most recently seen on TV in the ABC show Castle as Captain Roy Montgomery; his other TV credits include: Person of Interest, Forgotten Genius, The Red Sneakers, American Tragedy, Solomon and Sheba, Rear Window, Michael Hayes, The West Wing, and Law & Order. He has been honored with numerous awards, including an Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Dramalogue, Clarence Derwent, Glen G. Bartle, and Helen Hayes Awards, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Wayne State University, two AUDELCO Awards, a Black Filmmaker’s Award, a NAMIC Award, and an HBO Comedy Arts Festival Theater Award. Santiago-Hudson was honored with an NAACP Lifetime Achievement Theatre Award in 2009. He is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Buffalo State College.
Harvy Blanks (Shealy) has been a member of the Denver Center Theater Company since 1985. Some of his credits at the Denver Center include Fences, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Gem of the Ocean, King Hedley II, Jitney and The Piano Lesson (all by August Wilson), and A Streetcar Named Desire. In New York, Harvy received a Drama Desk Award for his performance as Oscar in Tabletop. Other noted New York productions include The First Breeze of Summer (Signature Theatre), The Guest of Central Park West (WorkShop Theater Company), and A Prophet Among Them (Blue Heron Theatre). Harvy was recently nominated for an Ovation award for a regional theater production of Driving Miss Daisy.
J. Bernard Calloway
J. Bernard Calloway (Booster) is honored and excited to be a part of such an amazing cast! He is currently on leave from starring on Broadway in the 2010 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis as Delray. Off-Broadway, J. Bernard played Henry in The Good Negro at The Public Theater (Pulitzer Prize nomination). His regional credits include: The Piano Lesson at Trinity Rep and Arkansas Rep; A Soldier's Play at Boston Center for the Arts; Spunk and Love's Labour’s Lost at Vineyard Playhouse; Othello at American Stage Theatre; Memphis at La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre; Aida at North Shore Music Theatre; and Dreamgirls at the Fox Theatre. Film: The Taking of Pelham 123, The Girl Is in Trouble, and Man on a Ledge (2012). J.'s most recent work on TV was a guest-starring role as Dayne on the new hit CBS series Person of Interest. The episode is called "Number Crunch.” Go to cbs.com to view! J. also has several national commercials and voiceovers to his credit. He is most proud of founding Creative Couple Productions, Inc. with his lovely wife Carmen in wherewith he is President. His work in this show is in honor to the legacy of August Wilson.
Anthony Chisholm (Fielding) won Obie and Drama Desk Awards for his performance as Fielding in the original Off-Broadway production of Jitney; he also played the role at the Mark Taper Forum and in London at the Royal National Theatre (Olivier Award for Best Play). He received a Tony nomination for his performance as Elder Joseph Barlow in August Wilson’s Radio Golf; his other Broadway credits include Wilson’s Two Trains Running and Gem of the Ocean. He is the recipient of NAACP, AUDELCO, Ovation, and IRNE Awards; he has also received nominations for Drama Desk, Drama League, Joseph Jefferson, Ovation, NAACP, and AUDELCO Awards. Mr. Chisholm appeared in The Tracers, Ice Bridge, and King Lear for The Public/NYSF. Other theater credits include The Mighty Gents, Back in the World, Melvin Van Peebles’ Ain’t Supposed To Die a Natural Death (first national tour), and Charles Gordone’s No Place to Be Somebody, as well as Tracers at London’s Royal Court and in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. Regional credits include The Train Driver (Long Wharf), I Am a Man (Goodman), I Just Stopped By to See the Man (Steppenwolf), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Denver Center Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House), Fences (Indiana Rep) and Driving Miss Daisy (Portland Stage). His film/TV credits include 13, Blackout, Reign Over Me, Langhorne in Beloved, 100 Center Street (Emmy consideration), Hack (recurring role), Law & Order: SVU, Vietnam War Stories (Cable Ace nomination), Third Watch, and HBO’s Oz as series regular Burr Redding.
Chuck Cooper (Becker) is a veteran of 10 Broadway plays and musicals, and numerous television and film guest lead appearances over the span of his 30 years as a professional actor. He won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a musical for his portrayal of Memphis in The Life. Other Broadway credits include: Finian’s Rainbow; Lennon; Caroline, or Change (AUDELCO Award, Best Featured Actor); Chicago; Passion; Someone to Watch Over Me; Rumors; Amen Corner; Getting Away With Murder. Off-Broadway: Lost In the Stars (Encores); On the Levee (LCT3); Thunder Knocking on the Door (Minetta Lane, AUDELCO nomination); Colored People's Time (Negro Ensemble Co.); and more. Regional credits include: All My Sons (Intiman); Dance of the Holy Ghosts (Yale Rep); Robeson (Passage Theatre); Othello (New Jersey Shakespeare Festival); Julius Caesar (Philadelphia Drama Guild); Hamlet, Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Theatre, DC); Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, Two Trains Running (San Diego Critics Circle Award, The Old Globe); and more. Television: Gossip Girl; Nurse Jackie; Hack; 100 Centre Street; Law & Order; SVU; Oz; NYPD Blue; Cosby; New York Undercover; I'll Fly Away; and more. Film credits: Boy Wonder; Noise; Evening; American Gangster; Find Me Guilty; Three Days of Rain; The Hurricane; The Opportunists; Gloria; The Juror; North. Mr. Cooper is a Beinecke Fellow at the Yale School of Drama. Favorite role: Eddie, Alex, and Lilli's father. www.chuckcooper.net.
Brandon J. Dirden
Brandon J. Dirden (Youngblood) Broadway: Enron, Prelude to a Kiss. Off-Broadway: The First Breeze of Summer and Day of Absence (Signature Theatre); Peter and the Starcatcher (NYTW); Bottom of the World (Atlantic); Edgewise (The Play Company/Page 73). Proud volunteer, 52nd Street Project. Regional: Trouble in Mind (Arena Stage); Magnolia (Goodman); Fences (Huntington Theatre and South Coast Repertory); Topdog/Underdog (Playmakers Rep); Ceremonies in Dark Old Men (True Colors Theatre); Othello, Twelfth Night, Metamorphoses, Comedy of Errors, and others (Georgia Shakespeare Festival); A Death in the House…, A Christmas Carol, and The Breach (Alliance); Take Me Out (Theatre in the Square); Come On in My Kitchen (7 Stages); Miss Dessa (Ensemble Theatre); Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Alley); Harvey (Utah Shakespeare Festival); and Julius Caesar and As You Like It (North Carolina Shakespeare Festival). Training: BA, Morehouse College and MFA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. www.brandondirden.com.
Roslyn Ruff (Rena) Broadway: Fences (standby). Off-Broadway: Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Macbeth (TFANA); The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; Things of Dry Hours; Seven Guitars; Killa Dilla; The Cherry Orchard; Macbeth (Classical Theatre of Harlem); Pudd'nhead Wilson; The Taming of the Shrew. Regional work includes: Berkeley Rep, Long Wharf, The Kennedy Center, Indiana Rep, Geva Theatre, Old Globe, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Alliance Theatre, McCarter Theatre, ACT, Yale Rep, People's Light & Theatre Co. International: 2004 Bonn Biennale Festival and Shakespeare Festival of Neuss; 2003 Athens Festival. Film: Detachment, The Help, Salt, Life During Wartime, Rachel Getting Married, In the Blood. TV: A Gifted Man (Nurse Sulla), The Big C, The Good Wife, The Jury, The Sopranos. Awards: 2010 Drama League nomination for Distinguished Performance, 2007 Obie Award for Performance, 2003 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play. MFA: IATT at Harvard University.
Ray Anthony Thomas
Ray Anthony Thomas (Philmore) Broadway: Race by David Mamet. Ensemble member, Atlantic Theater Company: Edmond, Human Error, Beginning of August, Distant Fires, The Lights. Off-Broadway: Volunteer Man (Obie Award), Kindness by Adam Rapp, Too Much Memory (Fringe Award, Best Production), The Exonerated, Saved or Destroyed (Rattlestick), Black Eagles (MTC), Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Public), Play to Win (AUDELCO nomination). Regional: To Kill a Mockingbird (Detroit Free Press Award), Boy Willie in The Piano Lesson, Gabriel in Fences (Barrymore nomination), Caesar in Gem of the Ocean, Proctor in The Crucible (Syracuse Stage), In the Blood (Guthrie), Topdog/Underdog (Pittsburgh), Master Harold… (Westport), Water by the Spoonful (Hartford). Film/TV: Pariah, Sleepwalk with Me (Sundance), Shutter Island, Our Song, Half Nelson, The Manchurian Candidate, Random Hearts, Malcolm X, Jacob’s Ladder, Law & Order (numerous appearances), The Sopranos, Rescue Me, Oz, The Hoop Life (series regular), The Jury, Conviction, I’ll Fly Away (Emmy consideration).
James A. Williams
James A. Williams (Doub) has worked in regional theaters across the country as an actor and educator. Nationally, he has an extensive performing history with Center Stage, Goodman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, McCarter, Seattle Rep, and Yale Rep culminating on Broadway in August Wilson’s Radio Golf. Williams performed multiple roles in The Kennedy Center’s August Wilson’s Century Cycle, and Off-Broadway in August Wilson’s Jitney and Marion McClinton’s Walkers. A founding company member of Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota, he is Director of Teen Programming at Pillsbury House Theatre. He is also Artistic Director for the Hennepin County Home School Theatre Project and a teaching artist with the International Theatre and Literacy Project. He has led performance workshops at University of Minnesota, Brown University, Macalester College, Colby College, the International School of Kenya, and Akeri and Nshupu Secondary Schools in Tanzania. A 2005 NAACP Image Award nominee, he was awarded the St. Paul Companies Leadership Initiative in the Neighborhoods Grant. He was named Actor of the Year by City Pages Magazine and Artist of the Year by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He is a TCG New Generations Fellow.
Allie Woods Jr.
Allie Woods Jr. (Turnbo) is a seasoned man of the theater with over 200 credits in the U.S. and internationally. From his debut with Houston’s Alley Theatre, he was a charter member/resident actor for three seasons with the historic, Tony Award-honored Negro Ensemble Company and a director in the Company’s Playwrights/Directors Unit. Other performances: Lincoln Center Theater/Broadway’s Mule Bone by Zora Neale Hurston; The Forbidden City, directed by Joseph Papp at The Public; the Pulitzer Prize-finalist Miss Evers’ Boys; and seven plays in August Wilson’s Century Cycle, including West in Pittsburgh Public’s Two Trains Running, Cutler in Classical Theatre of Harlem’s AUDELCO-winning Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Eli in Seattle Rep’s Gem of the Ocean, directed by Phylicia Rashad. International: London’s Barbican Centre, Royal Shakespeare Company, and Bristol Old Vic; Venice Biennale; and festivals in Perth and Adelaide, Australia. Film/TV: Tower Heist, Everybody’s Fine, Bellclair Times, One Life to Live, and the Law & Order franchise. He has been on the teaching faculties of the City and State Universities of New York and was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Theatre at the University of Ibadan/Nigeria. Honors: “Living Legend” citations from the National Black Arts Festival (Atlanta) and the National Black Theatre Festival (Winston-Salem), AUDELCO’s “Outstanding Pioneer Award in Black Theatre,” and a “Trailblazer Award” from the Beverly Hills/Hollywood Chapter of the NAACP. A native of Houston, Mr. Woods holds degrees from Texas Southern and Tennessee State Universities. His performances pay homage to Claude Purdy, an often neglected early-mentor director/collaborator in the August Wilson canon of play production.
Neil Patel (Scenic Designer) Broadway: Oleanna, [title of show], Ring of Fire, Side Man, ‘night Mother, Wonderland. West End: Side Man, Underneath the Lintel. Off-Broadway: BAM, Second Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout, Playwrights Horizons, others. Regional: The Kennedy Center, Arena, Guthrie, Steppenwolf, Center Theatre Group, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, Center Stage, others. Opera: Opera de Montreal, Vancouver Opera, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, and Nikikai Opera Tokyo. International: RSC, Parco Tokyo, Archa Theatre Prague, Hebbel Theater Berlin. Television/Film: In Treatment (HBO), Alone. Dance: Shadowland (Pilobolus). Awards: 2000 EDDY Award; 1996, 2000, 2003, 2009 Drama Desk nominations; 1996 and 2001 Obie for Sustained Excellence; 2008 Helen Hayes Award.
Karen Perry (Costume Designer) Recent credits include the 10th Anniversary production of Crowns, written and directed by Regina Taylor (Goodman); Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky, dir. Sheldon Epps (Pasadena Playhouse); John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, dir. Ethan McSweeny (Arena); Regina Taylor's Trinity River Plays, dir. McSweeny (Dallas Theater Center, Goodman); Walter Mosley’s The Fall of Heaven, dir. Marion McClinton (Cincinnati Playhouse); The Brother/Sister Plays by Pulitzer nominee Tarell McCraney, dir. Tina Landau (The Public) and Landau and Robert O'Hara (McCarter); Things of Dry Hours by Naomi Wallace, dir. Ruben Santiago-Hudson (NYTW); Having Our Say, written and directed by Emily Mann (McCarter); and Resurrection by Daniel Beaty, dir. Oz Scott (Arena). Her regional credits include six August Wilson productions: Gem of the Ocean, The Piano Lesson, King Hedley II, Radio Golf, Two Trains Running, and Seven Guitars. Honors include 2008 and 2006 AUDELCO Awards; the 2007 San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award; the 2006 “Woodie” Award; and the 2005 National Black Theatre Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award; as well as AUDELCO, Henry Hewes, and Lortel nominations. Select film/TV credits include: Saturday Night Live and The Brother from Another Planet by director John Sayles.
Rui Rita (Lighting Design) has designed the Broadway productions of Present Laughter, Dividing the Estate, Old Acquaintance, Enchanted April, The Price, and A Thousand Clowns. His Off Broadway premieres include Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle (Hewes Award, Signature), Nightingale, Moonlight and Magnolias (Manhattan Theatre Club), Big Bill, The Carpetbagger's Children, Far East, Ancestral Voices (Lincoln Center Theater), The Day Emily Married (Primary Stages), and Dinner with Friends (Variety Arts Center). His Off Broadway revivals include The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Roundabout) and Engaged (Obie Award, Theatre for a New Audience). His additional Off Broadway and regional credits include Second Stage, New York Shakespeare Festival/The Public Theater, Alley, Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Center Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Goodman, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Old Globe, Westport Country Playhouse, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Leon Rothenberg (Sound Designer) is delighted to be working at Two River Theater for the first time. Other regional credits include: Some Lovers (Old Globe), Sleeping Beauty Wakes (McCarter, La Jolla), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (La Jolla), The Year of Magical Thinking (Intiman), Herringbone (McCarter, La Jolla) as well as designs at the Kasser Theater, REDCAT, Canon and others. On Broadway Leon designed August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Tony nomination) and Impressionism. Also in NY/Off-Broadway: Timon of Athens (Public), Play Dead (Players Theater), On the Levee (LCT3), Diagnosis of a Faun (La MaMa), Encores: Anyone Can Whistle, Fall for Dance Festival (2008-2011), and others. For Cirque du Soleil Leon designed Wintuk and Kooza, currently touring Japan. Film credits include Love Is Black Water, Violet to Earth, My Roommate Was a Psychopath, Magnetic Sleep, Terrace 49, and others. Online: klaxson.net.
Bill Sims Jr.
Bill Sims Jr. (Composer) is an internationally respected “Master of the Blues.” Off-Broadway: Lackawanna Blues (Public Theater, Obie Award for Music, 2001), Seven Guitars, The First Breeze of Summer (both Signature), Things of Dry Hours (NYTW). Other theater: Deep Down (INTAR), Gem of the Ocean (McCarter), Crowns (Intiman), Trick the Devil (Freedom Theatre), Moms and Her Ladies (The Producers Club), Polk County (Berkeley Rep). Mr. Sims was the subject of the documentary An American Love Story (PBS) for which he composed many of the songs for the soundtrack. Other film credits: Lackawanna Blues, New York Stories, Miss Ruby’s House, American Gangster, Cadillac Records. His voice can be heard in many TV and radio commercials. His critically acclaimed 1999 CD release Bill Sims (Warner Bros.) demonstrates his knowledge of the many facets of the Blues. Training: Ohio State University. www.billsimsjr.com.
Thomas Schall (Fight Director) Broadway: War Horse, Venus in Fur, The House of Blue Leaves, A Free Man of Color, The Merchant of Venice, A View from the Bridge, After Miss Julie, Mary Stuart, Waiting for Godot, The Seafarer, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Coram Boy, Journey’s End, The Woman in White, Wicked, Noises Off, Art. Off Broadway: King Lear, Titus Andronicus, Mother Courage, Hamlet, The Book of Grace, Why Torture Is Wrong…, Singing Forest, The Good Negro (The Public Theater), Blood and Gifts, Bernarda Alba, Dessa Rose, Belle Epoque, A Man of No Importance (Lincoln Center), Ruined (MTC), The First Breeze of Summer (Signature Theatre), Beast (New York Theatre Workshop), The Pride (MCC), Homebody/Kabul (BAM).
Heidi Griffiths (Casting) has been a casting director for more than two decades working in theater, film, and television. She has worked for more than 20 years at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in NYC, casting over 200 productions Off-Broadway and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, including Shakespeare, new plays, and musicals. On Broadway: Chinglish; The Motherf**ker with the Hat; The Merchant of Venice; Hair; Passing Strange; Caroline, or Change; Take Me Out (Tony Award, Best Play 2003); Topdog/Underdog (Pulitzer Prize, 2002); The Wild Party; Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk; On the Town; and The Tempest. She also cast the films The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love; Murder and Murder; and Saving Face. She is delighted to make her debut at Two River Theater Company.
Production Stage Manager
Amanda Michaels (Production Stage Manager) Previous PSM credits at Two River: Intimate Apparel, A Thousand Clowns, Orestes: A Tragic Romp, Heartbreak House, and Melissa Arctic (by Craig Wright). Broadway: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick Jr., PA; Side Show (reading, Roundabout), ASM; A Bronx Tale (Walter Kerr), PA. Off-Broadway: Dutch Masters with LAByrinth Theater Company (Cherry Lane), SM; How to Be a Good Italian Daughter (Cherry Lane), PSM; 24 Hour Play Series (American Airlines Theatre), ASM; Two Trains Running (Signature), PA. Other: NYTB’s The Nutcracker and Cinderella, SM; Nymph Errant (reading) with Prospect Theater, SM; Struck with the Ice Factory Festival at 3LD, SM; The Dwellers at INTAR, PSM. Regional Cyrano and Orestes: A Tragic Romp (Shakespeare Theatre, DC), PSM; To Kill a Mockingbird, I Capture the Castle, School for Wives and Private Lives (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ), PSM. TV/Film: The Good Wife, PA (Season 1); Law & Order: Criminal Intent, PA (seasons 7 and 8); The Tell-Tale Heart (short film) with Palehorse Productions, 1st AD.