He will perform scenes from various Wilson works. The performance will be followed by a barbeque celebration featuring participants in the O'Neill's National Playwrights and Musical Theatre Conference and other celebrities. The O'Neill has established the August Wilson Endowed Fellowship, which will secure the participation of a playwright of color in each year's conference. Wilson died last year at age 60.
Dutton is a two-time Tony Award nominee for the original productions of Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and The Piano Lesson. He also starred in the 2003 revival of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom opposite Whoopi Goldberg. His film and TV credits include Roc, The L Word, and Threshold.
Merkerson starred on Broadway in Wilson's The Piano Lesson, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. Her other New York stage credits include Tintypes, F...ing A, and Birdie Blue. She won the Emmy Award, among many other honors, for her performance in HBO's Lackawanna Blues. In addition, Merkerson has spent the past 13 years as Lt. Anita Van Buren on Law & Order.
Tickets to the event are priced at $75, including admission to the performance and the barbecue. Call 860-443-5378 ext. 217 for reservations.