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Celebrate Black History Month

August Wilson

Plays in The Pittsburgh Cycle

You can read more about August Wilson's ten part Pittsburgh Cycle at Wikipedia.

Gem of the Ocean
PS3573.I45677 G46 2006
This play takes place in 1904 at 1839 Wylie Avenue in the Hill District and is chronologically the first play of his decade-by-decade, ten-play chronicle, The Pittsburgh Cycle.
 
Joe Turner's Come and Gone
PS3573.I45677 G46 2006
Joe Turner's Come and Gone takes place in 1911 and is the second play of his The Pittsburgh Cycle.
 
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
PS3573.I45677 M3 1985bx
This is the only play in the Pittsburgh Cycle that doesn't take place in Pittsburgh but in a run-down recording studio in Chicago in 1927. Ma Rainey, the legendary blues singer, is due to arrive with her entourage to cut new sides of old favorites.
 
The Piano Lesson
PS3573.I45677 P54 2007
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning play set in 1936, a brother is pitted against his sister over the fate of their heirloom piano.
 
Seven Guitars
PS3573.I45677 S48 1997x
The fifth in the author's decade by decade Pittsburgh Cycle, Seven Guitars takes place in the backyard of a Pittsburgh tenement in 1948 where friends gather to mourn for a blues guitarist and singer who died just as his career was on the verge of taking off.
 
Fences
PS3573.I45677 F4 1986
The moving drama of Troy Maxson, a man who had everything needed to be a great ball player, except Jackie Robinson hadn't yet broken the color barrier. This is the sixth of August Wilsons ten part Pittsburgh Cycle and won the Pulitzer Prize.
 
Two Trains Running
PS3573.I45677 T96 1992b
This seventh play takes place in 1969, at a restaurant at 1621 Wylie Avenue in the Hill District during the urban redevelopment era which cleared much of the lower Hill to make way for the Civic Arena. The restaurant is slated for seizure and removal.
 
Jitney
PS3573.I45677 J58 2001
This play, published in 1982, takes place in 1977 in a jitney station in the Hill District and is the eighth play of his The Pittsburgh Cycle.
 
King Hedley II
PS3573.I45677 K56 2005
King Hedley II is the eighth work in the 10-play cycle chronicling the history of the African American experience in each decade of the twentieth century. It's set in 1985 and tells the story of an ex-con in post-Reagan Pittsburgh trying to rebuild his life.
 
Radio Golf
PS3573.I45677 R33 2007
Taking place in 1990 Radio Golf is the final installment in the Pittsburgh Cycle and August Wilson's final work. The Pittsburgh Cycle comes full circle as Aunt Ester's onetime home at 1839 Wylie Avenue (the setting of the cycle's first play: Gem of the Ocean) is slated for demolition to make way for a slick new real estate venture aimed to boost both the depressed Hill District and Harmond Wilks' chance of becoming the city's first black mayor.
 

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DVDs

August Wilson
In this 1988 episode of the PBS television series A World of Ideas, Bill Moyers interviews playwright August Wilson on the importance of the blues in Wilson's life and his writing. Also talks about finding an African-American cultural identity and what Wilson sees as the false portrayal of black Americans on television.
 
The Piano Lesson
August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of a family caught between their heritage and a dream for the future. The Charles family clashes over the fate of a magnificent, carved piano that carries their family's story from their days as slaves. Boy Willie wants to sell the piano to buy a farm--the same fields their family worked as slaves. But his sister, Berniece, refuses to part with it. For her, the piano is their very soul, a legacy of pride and struggle that symbolizes their survival as a family. To resolve the conflict they must first deal with the past.
 

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About August Wilson

Glasco, Laurence A.
August Wilson: Pittsburgh Places in His Life and Plays
PS3573.I45677 Z67 2011x
This Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation book guides visitors to key sites in the playwright’s life and work in the Hill District and beyond.
 

Literary Criticism

  • AuthorSheets: August Wilson
    CLP Librarian Don Wentworth has compiled resources from various books and journals that discuss August Wilson's work.

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Web Sites