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Deep Dish Theater Company Kicks Off Season 12 Aug. 24th with August Wilson’s Final Play, “Radio Golf”

Mike Wiley (left) as community redeveloper and would-be Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Harmond Wilks and Warren Keyes as Elder Joseph Barlow (photo by Jonathan Young)

Mike Wiley (left) as community redeveloper and would-be Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Harmond Wilks and Warren Keyes as Elder Joseph Barlow (photo by Jonathan Young)

Chapel Hill, NC-based Deep Dish Theater Company will kick off its 12th season at University Mall with African-American playwright August Wilson’s final play, Radio Golf, set in 1997 in the office of a community-redevelopment business in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA, on Aug. 24-26, Aug. 29-Sept. 2, and Sept. 5-9 and 12-15. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Dramatic Art faculty member and PlayMakers Repertory Company mainstay Kathryn Hunter-Williams of Carrboro will direct this comedic drama about the high price of progress in the black community.

After premiering at Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, CT, on April 22, 2005, Radio Golf made its Broadway debut on May 8, 2007 at the Cort Theatre, where it racked up 17 previews and 64 performances before closing on July 1, 2007. The original Broadway cast of the final installment Wilson’s 10-part “Pittsburgh Cycle,” was directed by Kenny Leon. It included Harry Lennix as Ivy League-educated community redeveloper and would-be Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Harmond Wilks; Tonya Pinkins as his wife, Mame; James A. Williams as his friend and business associate Roosevelt Hicks; Anthony Chisholm as Elder Joseph Barlow; and John Earl Jelks as Sterling Johnson.

Radio Golf earned a 2007 Tony Award® nomination for Best Play, as well as three other Tony nominations: for Best Featured Actor in a Play (Anthony Chisholm and John Earl Jelks) and Best Scenic Design of a Play (David Gallo). The play won the 2007 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and also received a 2007 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Play, plus three 2007 Drama Desk Award nominations: for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Anthony Chisholm), and Outstanding Set Design of a Play.

Raleigh actor, director, and playwright Mike Wiley and Durham actress Hazel Edmond as Pittsburgh businessman Harmond Wilks and his wife, Mame (photo by Jonathan Young)

Raleigh actor, director, and playwright Mike Wiley and Durham actress Hazel Edmond as Pittsburgh businessman Harmond Wilks and his wife, Mame (photo by Jonathan Young)

According to Deep Dish Theater Company:

“‘We’re thrilled to begin our season with the work of one of 20th Century’s most eloquent and insightful playwrights,’ said Paul Frellick, Deep Dish Theater’s founding artistic director. ‘And this play, as much as any he wrote, seems to speak directly to our present time, both politically and culturally.’

“Smart and successful, Harmond Wilks aspires to become the first black mayor of Pittsburgh. But a long-neglected piece of property and a harsh reality stand in his way — what is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right. Radio Golf concludes the unprecedented Century Cycle, a series of 10 dramas chronicling African-American life in 20th-century America by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author August Wilson (Jitney, Fences, In the Blood, etc).

“This production reunites director [Kathryn] Hunter-Williams and actor Mike Wiley, winner of a recent Indie Award from The Independent Weekly magazine, who plays Wilks; the pair worked together on the celebrated Deep Dish production of Wilson’s Jitney in 2009.

“The [Radio Golf] cast also includes Hazel Edmond, Nilan Johnson, Warren Keyes, and Phillip Bernard Smith. The design staff is comprised of Rob Hamilton (set), Jenni Mann Becker (lights), Pamela Bond (costumes), Leanne Norton Heintz (properties), and Michael Betts II (sound). John Rogers Harris is the dramaturg, and Joe Keilholz [is] the stage manager.

“The theater will present a pre-show ‘Meet the Play’ talk on Friday, Aug. 31st, at 7 pm. Post-performance discussions will take place Sunday, August 26th (with dramaturg John Rogers Harris and director Kathryn Hunter-Williams); Sunday, Sept. 2nd (with the cast and Chapel Hill Council Member Donna Bell); and Thursday, Sept. 6 (a ‘Meet the Designers’ discussion with the production staff). The Deep Dish Book Selection, Home by Toni Morrison, will be discussed on Monday, Sept. 10th, at 7 p.m. at Flyleaf Books [http://www.flyleafbooks.com/].

“Performances begin Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday (matinee) at 2 p.m. Deep Dish is located in Chapel Hill’s University Mall, on Estes Drive and U.S. 15-501.

“Tickets are $21 for adults and $19 for seniors, with a $2 discount for Wednesday and Thursday shows. Student tickets are $14 for all shows. Wednesday, Aug. 29th, is ‘Cheap Dish Night’ — all tickets are $10 (no reservations accepted). Call 919-968-1515 for ticket reservations; and for more information, visit http://www.deepdishtheater.org/.

“The Deep Dish Theater Company is committed to presenting compelling, human-centered dramatic work that contributes to the cultural richness of the Triangle area and challenges audiences to explore concerns of the community and the world-at-large.

SECOND OPINION: Aug. 17th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Cliff Bellamy: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/19815110/article-Play–exhibit-pay-tribute-to-Nina-Simone (Note: You must register first to read this article).

Deep Dish Theater Company presents RADIO GOLF at 8 p.m. Aug. 24 and 25, 2 p.m. Aug. 26; 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 and 30, 8 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 2 p.m. Sept. 2; 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 and 6, 8 p.m. Sept. 7 and 8, 2 p.m. Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 and 13, and 8 p.m. Sept. 14 and 15 in its performance space between The Print Shop and the Public Library at the Dillard’s end of University Mall, at the intersection of Estes Dr. and U.S. 15-501, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514.

TICKETS: $21 ($14 students and $19 seniors), except $2 discount Wednesdays and Thursdays for adults and seniors and $10 per ticket “Cheap Dish Night on Wednesday, Aug. 29th, (door sales only).

BOX OFFICE: 919-968-1515 or http://www.etix.com/.

SHOW: http://www.deepdishtheater.org/productions?p=55.

SEASON: http://www.deepdishtheater.org/productions.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.deepdishtheater.org/.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.deepdishtheater.org/location.

NOTE 1: At 7 p.m. on Friday, August 31st, there will be a preshow “Meet the Play” talk.

NOTE 2: There will be post-performance discussions on Sunday, Aug. 26th (with dramaturg John Rogers Harris and director Kathryn Hunter-Williams); Sunday, Sept. 2nd (with the cast and Chapel Hill Council Member Donna Bell); and Thursday, Sept. 6th (a Meet the Designers discussion with the production staff).

NOTE 3: The Deep Dish Book Selection, Home by Toni Morrison, will be discussed at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10th, at Flyleaf Books (http://www.flyleafbooks.com/), 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. 

OTHER LINKS:

The Play: http://www.radiogolfonbroadway.com/ (official Broadway website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Golf (Wikipedia).

The Playwright: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Wilson (Wikipedia).

The Director: http://www.playmakersrep.org/aboutus/artist.aspx?id=6ad10439-2e0c-4017-b4f3-4ca3dae6dc9c (PlayMakers Repertory Company).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

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