August Wilson's celebrated 10-play cycle captures 100 years of African American life during each decade of the 20th century. The cycle begins in the early 1900s, when wounds from slavery and the Civil War were still fresh, and closes in the 1990s, when even a large and increasingly influential black middle class would not escape persistent racial tensions. 

In the fall of 2013, close to 100 theater artists from across the globe convened at The Greene Space at WNYC in Lower Manhattan to record, for the very first time, all 10 plays in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle – a magnum opus in the American theater. Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Executive Producer, in partnership with the August Wilson Estate, led by Constanza Romero, Wilson's widow, brought together many longtime Wilson collaborators and interpreters, including Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the project's Artistic Director, and Associate Director and Tony Award-nominee Stephen McKinley Henderson.

Experience a Great American Master

Week by week, beginning Sunday, April 26, 2015 with the first two plays, The Greene Space will release audio of a live recorded dramatic reading – decade-by-decade – of August Wilson's American Century Cycle, as well as video and photographs. Check back here each Sunday to experience, for a limited time, the next play in the cycle. Audio will only be available through August 26, 2015.

Recently in August Wilson's American Century Cycle

1900: Gem of the Ocean | Directed by Kenny Leon

Friday, April 24, 2015

A young man from Alabama visits Aunt Ester, a 285-year-old renowned cleanser of souls for help in absolving the guilt he carries from a crime he’s committed. Audio now available.

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1910: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone | Directed by Phylicia Rashad

Friday, April 24, 2015

Set in a Pittsburgh, the story of Seth and Bertha Holly and the migrants who pass through their boardinghouse during the Great Migration of the 1910s. Audio available now.  

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1920: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom | Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Friday, April 24, 2015

Set in Chicago in 1927, the play explores issues of race, art, religion and the historic exploitation of black recording artists by white producers. Available now.

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1930: The Piano Lesson | Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Friday, April 24, 2015

Set in 1936 Pittsburgh, the story of a brother and sister who have different ideas on what to do with the piano they own - keep or sell it. Audio now available.

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1940: Seven Guitars | Directed by Stephen McKinley Henderson

Friday, April 24, 2015

The story of a blues singer just released from prison and ready to right the past year's wrongs. Audio available now.

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1950: Fences | Directed by Kenny Leon

Friday, April 24, 2015

Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, the story of Troy Maxson, a restless trash-collector and former baseball athlete struggling to provide for his family. Audio available now.

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1960: Two Trains Running | Directed by Michele Shay

Friday, April 24, 2015

The story of a local diner owner who fights to stay open as a municipal project encroaches on his establishment. Audio available now.

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1970: Jitney | Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Friday, April 24, 2015

Set in a worn-down gypsy cab station in Pittsburgh, the story of men hustling to make a living as jitneys — unofficial and unlicensed taxi cabs. Audio available now.

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1980: King Hedley II | Directed by Michele Shay

Friday, April 24, 2015

The story of an ex-convict trying to rebuild his life by selling stolen refrigerators so that he can save enough money to buy a video store. Audio available now.

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1990: Radio Golf | Directed by Marion McClinton

Friday, April 24, 2015

A powerful African-American politician runs for the highest office of his career, but as he steps into prominence, his plans collide with his past. Audio release date: Sun, June 21.

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Video: August Wilson Talk Series - Reminiscences

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

August Wilson's loved ones share personal memories of him, on and off stage. Featuring Constanza Romero, Wilson's widow; Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Stephen McKinley Henderson and more.

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Video: August Wilson Talk Series - Religion, Spirituality and Africa

Friday, September 27, 2013

The playwright often used his characters to explore the transformative power of embracing one’s identity and ancestral lineage. A conversation hosted by WQXR's Terrance McKnight.

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Video: August Wilson Talk Series - Bringing Black Works to Broadway

Monday, September 23, 2013

A conversation on the challenges and triumphs of staging works on Broadway that feature prominent African-American characters, actors and story lines. Hosted by WQXR's Elliott Forrest. 

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Video: August Wilson Talk Series - The Women of the Century Cycle

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The male characters may be the central drivers of the narratives in Wilson's work, but it's the women who are considered the theatrical backbone. Hosted by Charisse Jones.

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Video: August Wilson Talk Series - The Lloyd Richards Effect

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lloyd Richards championed August Wilson’s plays and directed six of them on Broadway. WNYC’s Leonard Lopate explored one of the most successful artistic partnerships in American theater.

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Video: Poet Sonia Sanchez on August Wilson

Friday, September 20, 2013

Groundbreaking poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez opened our presentation of "The Piano Lesson" with reflections on August Wilson and his legacy.

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Listen: Brian Lehrer Talks August Wilson's American Century Cycle

Friday, September 20, 2013

Series artistic directors Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Stephen McKinley Henderson, and audio theater producer Arthur Yorinks talk with Brian Lehrer about the August Wilson series.

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Video: Preserving August Wilson's Legacy

Monday, August 26, 2013

Constanza Romero, August Wilson's widow and executor of his estate, on the importance of preserving the playwright's works, and his legacy, for future generations.   

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Video: Behind August Wilson's American Century Cycle

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

As we launch our historic series recording all 10 plays in August Wilson's American Century Cycle, hear from longtime Wilson collaborators who'll join us on this project.  

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Photo Timeline: August Wilson's Century Cycle

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our production presents the playwright's works in the order in which they premiered, rather than in chronological order of the decade-by-decade cycle. Find out why, and view photos.

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