August Wilson’s Fences Still Timely, Powerful

Simeeyah Grace Baker and Edgar Sanchez appear as Raynell and Cory in Fences.

Simeeyah Grace Baker and Edgar Sanchez appear as Raynell and Cory in Fences.

Edited by AZI Staff

Photo by Tim Fuller

Arizona Theatre Company celebrates the new year with a great American classic in August Wilson’s stunning, Pulitzer-Prize winning play, Fences. A vivid, heartfelt exploration of the African-American experience set in the 1950’s, the story remains strikingly relevant today. Performances begin at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe, on Friday, Feb. 11 and continue through Sunday, Feb. 28.

Michael and Beth Kasser are Arizona Theatre Company’s 2015-16 Season Sponsors. The Stonewall Foundation is the Production Sponsor.

Perhaps the best known of Wilson’s plays and winner of the Tony Award for Best Play, Fences tells the gripping story of sanitation worker Troy Maxson, a star baseball player whose career was blunted by the racism prevalent in pre-Jackie Robinson America. Feeling his world rapidly changing, Troy builds a fence to protect what is familiar and hold off what threatens.

Muscular and lyrical, filled with some of the greatest characters and scenes in American Drama, this August Wilson blockbuster shows what can happen when a strong man is robbed of his dreams.

Fences, the searing story of a man who stepped up to the plate too many times only to go down swinging, is as American as baseball itself. Called “stunning, explosive and tender” (The Seattle Times), Fences is “August Wilson at his finest” (Boston Herald). “Time has enhanced the luster of the play and it stands apart thanks to its distinctive lyricism and theatricality and its unforgettable central character. Fences is universal enough to touch a chord in every human heart.” (The New York Times).

“Wilson’s play and main character are so meaty and vivid that you can’t help being gripped by this story of a man who may have thrived, but who is fenced in by the era into which he was born and by his own personality,” Lyn Gardner wrote in The Guardian.

“With this production of Fences, we welcome back to ATC not only the grandeur and power of August Wilson’s work, but also the return of some of our favorite artists to create the production,” said ATC Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein. “Director Lou Bellamy is one of America’s greatest interpreters of the Wilson world; keenly attuned to his themes, deeply connected to the rhythm of his dialogue, championing the universal truths in his words. Lou returns with him actors and designers who have created magic on our stages before under his guidance in such productions as Jitney, A Raisin in the Sun and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Tickets for Fences can be purchased at www.arizonatheatre.org, by calling (602) 252-8497 or at the Herberger Theater Center Box Office at 222 E. Monroe.

Fences will be followed by another great American classic, John Steinbeck’s classic tale of friendship in hard circumstances, Of Mice and Men (March 31 to April 17).

ATC’s 2015-16 season comes to a sparkling close with the witty Arizona premiere of Scott Carter’s new play, The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord (May 5-29).

For information call 602-252-8497 or visit www.arizonatheatre.org.

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