Tonight marks the first time that an August Wilson work debuts on the main stage of PlayMakers Rep. Perhaps as a result of this oversight, the company has chosen Wilson's most famous, but probably not his most interesting, work. Fences, first produced in 1983 and then on Broadway in 1987 with James Earl Jones in the lead, concerns Troy, an ex-Negro League baseball player who now works as a garbage man to support his wife and three kids.
The play is the sixth out of 10 in Wilson's "Pittsburgh Cycle," which explores nuances of the African-American experience. Wilson won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1987, and Jones picked up a Tony Award for best actor in a drama. It was revived on Broadway earlier this year with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, both of whom won Tonys. Performances run through Nov. 14. —Sarah Ewald