Lloyd Richards, the Tony Award-winning American director and longtime dean of the Yale School of Drama, was once asked, “What were you looking for when you found August Wilson? What was it in August Wilson?” His response: “Genius. We were looking for genius.”
During his tenure as Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference at the O'Neill Center, Richards selected a script submission — one out of more than a thousand — from an unknown writer. In this case, it was August Wilson. The play was Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Richards and Wilson went on to form one of the most successful artistic partnerships in American theater, as Richards directed and collaborated on five other plays by Wilson — Fences, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running and Seven Guitars.
Watch on-demand video below:
WNYC's Leonard Lopate will take audiences behind this historic partnership in a conversation with Constanza Romero, theater designer, Wilson’s widow and executor of the August Wilson estate; Lou Bellamy, Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre Company and Obie Award-winning director of Two Trains Running at Signature Theatre; Todd London, Artistic Director of New Dramatists, who presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to August Wilson in May 2003; Stephen McKinley Henderson, Associate Director of the August Wilson series; and Ebony Jo-Ann, who starred as Ma Rainey.
Talk Series schedule and discount pass:
* Learn more here about our historic recording project, August Wilson's American Century Cycle and accompanying Talk Series
* Attend all six talks for $45 with our discount pass. BUY NOW!
Leadership support for The NEXT New York Conversation is provided by: