Jitney is playing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre located at 261 west 47th Street. It runs two hours twenty minutes with on intermission. The play closes on March 2, 2017.
August Wilson is the playwright. He won a Tony Award for Best Play and Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1987 for Fences. August won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play and Pulitzer Prize for Drama for The Piano Lesson in 1990. He died in 2005.
Jitney was written in 1992.
Rubin Santiago Hudson is the director. He won a Tony Award in 1996 for Seven Guitars.
David Gallo is the scenic designer. He was nominated for Tony Award in 2006 for The Drowsy Chaperone.
Toni-Leslie James was nominated for a Tony Award in 1992 for Jelly’s Last Jam.
Anthony Chisholm won a Tony Award in 2007 for Radio Golf. He won an Obie and Drama Desk Award in 1982 for Jitney.
The setting is 1977 in a worn-down gypsy cab station in Pittsburgh Hill District.
The five drivers are the owner Becker (John Douglas Thompson), Fielding (Anthony Chisholm), Youngblood (Andre Holland), Turnbo (Michael Potts) and Doub (Keith Randolph Smith).
We found out a little about each man. Beckers son Booster (Brandon J. Dirden) is getting out of prison. He’s been there for 20 years. Becker has not seen him since he went to prision. Youngblood has a girlfriend Rena (Carra Patteron) and a son. Turbo thrives on gossip. He tells Rena Youngblood is going out wither sister. Fielding sneaks a drink from a flask in his coat pocket. Doub tries to keep the claim among the men.
Each driver answers the wall phone that you have to put money in to use. They tell the person on the line they will pick the up and the color of their car.
Two other men come into the store. A sharp dressed bookie called Shealy (Harry Blanks) hangs out. He takes bets from some of the men and other bets on the phone. Another patron is Philmore (Ray Anthony Blanks) thinks that the women he knows are hot for him.
Becker finally tells the drivers the city is taking over the buildings and boarding them up. There building is one of them. They will all be out of work unless they find another place.
We find out more about some of the characters.
This is a very touching story. Becker made sacrifices so his son could have a better life. Booster screws up. Becker won’t forgive him. Booster wants to make amends.
As usual I’m not telling you the important details as not to spoil it for you.
The set is great. You can see out the store windows, both sides of the entrance are cars. The back ground has buildings.
The cast is outstanding. John Douglas Thomas and Andre Holland do awe-inspiring performances.
This is a play worth seeing.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
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