WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, AUGUST?
"Love, duty, betrayal, forgiveness, redemption..." So says August Wilson when you ask him what his next play, King Hedley II, is about. "It takes place in Pittsburgh [as do all of Wilson's plays] in 1985, and I use some of the characters from Seven Guitars, 36 years later," he amplifies. It bows in Boston on May 24 and should be on Broadway next April.
Meanwhile, Wilson's Jitney serves up about as full a dramatic meal as Off-Broadway can provide. It has been deemed "the best new play of the year" (Drama Critics Circle award), performed by "the best ensemble" (Drama Desk and Obie Award), under Marion McClinton's "best direction" (Obie Award) on David Gallo's "best set" (Drama Desk Award, Obie Award).
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who collected his Tony for Wilson's Seven Guitars, expects to be back on Broadway next season in the play he did to such acclaim last summer at Williamstown: A Raisin in the Sun. He says he almost made it this season via the McCarter's critically cheered revival of Glengarry Glen Ross, in which he executed Joe Mantegna's Tony-winning role, opposite Charles Durning. "It was a blessing to work with Durning," says Santiago-Hudson.
"HAVE SHOW, WILL TRAVEL"
These days, the above is the motto of Mark Waldrop, director-lyricist of When Pigs Fly. His specialty is starting up shows in other cities, then pointing them toward Gotham. No sooner did he get up and going in Minneapolis Adventures in Love (songs by Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler, book by the Maybe Baby, It's You duo of Charlie Shanian and Shari Simpson) than Waldrop dropped himself off in Springfield, Massachusetts to helm Pete and Keely starring George Dvorsky and Sally Mayes. Waldrop contributed lyrics to the original tunes of Patrick Brady, but mostly the show leans on Golden Oldies of the '50s and '60s, arranged by Brady. Jim Hindman, a Forever Plaid alum, did the book. "It's sorta 'Forever Plaid Meets I Do! I Do!'," says Waldrop.