Wilson, August

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Wilson, August,

1945–2005, American playwright and poet, b. Pittsburgh as Frederick August Kittel. Largely self-educated, Wilson first attracted wide critical attention with his Broadway debut, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1984), a play set in 1927 that dramatizes the clash between the blues diva and a member of her band and the larger conflicts brought about by racist American society. Wilson's plays center on the struggles and identity of African Americans and the deleterious effect of white American institutions on black American life. His works draw heavily on Wilson's own experience growing up in the Hill district of Pittsburgh, a black ghetto where nearly all of his plays are set. His characters are ordinary people whose histories, frustrations, and aspirations Wilson astutely portrays. His cycle of ten dramas written over a period of more than 20 years include various overlapping characters and themes. In addition to Ma Rainey, it includes Jitney (1982), Fences (1987; Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award), Joe Turner's Come and Gone (1988), The Piano Lesson (1990; Pulitzer Prize), Two Trains Running (1992), Seven Guitars (1995), King Hedley II (2001), Gem of the Ocean (2003), and Radio Golf (2005). Acclaimed as landmarks in the history of black American culture, these works focus on the major issues confronting African Americans during each of the decades of the 20th cent. In 2003, Wilson starred in a production of his autobiographical one-man play How I Learned What I Learned.


See studies by M. Elkins, ed. (1994), A. Nadel, ed. (1994), K. Pereira (1995), S. G. Shannon (1995), J. Herrington (1998), Y. Shafer (1998), M. L. Bogumil (1999), Q. Wang (1999), P. Wolfe (1999), H. Bloom, ed. (2002), H. J. Elam, Jr. (2004), and M. E. Snodgrass (2004).

Wilson, August

(1945–  ) playwright; born in Pittsburgh, Pa. A writer who never finished high school, he won two Pulitzer Prizes for his plays, which depict the black experience in America: Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1990). His goal was to write a cycle of plays, one set in each decade of the 20th century. He founded Minnesota's Black Horizons Theatre Company. His Ma Rainey's Black Bottom won a New York Drama Critics Circle Award (1984–85).
References in periodicals archive ?
4, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- THIRTEEN's American Masters series and Pittsburgh PBS affiliate WQED join forces to explore the life and legacy of playwright August Wilson (April 27, 1945 C October 2, 2005) - the man some call America's Shakespeare - from his roots as an activist and poet to his indelible mark on Broadway.
There's no real value for the August Wilson Center that we see in the hotel developer's proposal," he said, hoping that the judge and attorney general will reject it and get the foundations back to the table.
Kang, August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Drew Hayden Taylor, among others.
Writing in the grand tradition of Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, August Wilson is widely considered to be one of the most significant contributors to American drama and has won almost every significant award.
After his gripping piece for August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble wowed the Jazz Dance World Congress last summer, and before his first work for the Alley company debuts in December, he'll show Pavement at Harlem Stage's Gatehouse (and also Swarthmore College outside Philadelphia) this month.
The influence of the Black Arts Movement can also be seen in the work of later artists, from the writers Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, and August Wilson to actors Avery Brooks, Danny Glover, and Samuel L.
NGN: You have had a successful collaboration with August Wilson.
Thus it was that August Wilson became the authentic voice of the black experience in the USA and from his writing the awards piled up, making him a celebrated figure in literary circles.
I don't remember when or where I first met August Wilson.
If you were a stage actor, the only way you got to Broadway was through an August Wilson play.
Jersey Boys * Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice * Music by Bob Gaudio * Lyrics by Bob Crewe * Directed by Des McAnuff * August Wilson Theater, New York City (open-ended run)
SOME GREAT SHAKES: Unlike August Wilson, the Bard is never in short supply.