It was earlier this year when valley audiences were treated to one of the best theatrical productions of the year. In mid-February, Arizona Theatre Company presented a powerful new production of August Wilson’s Fences at Herberger Center downtown, and local reviews, including one from this column, were overwhelmingly positive.
Set in the 1950’s, Fences was the sixth part of Wilson’s ten-part Pittsburgh Cycle, nine of which were set specifically in the African-American neighborhood of Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Each of the author’s plays were set in different decades with the intention of raising the consciousness of the 20th century Black experience through theatre.
Though the play was written in 1983, the original Broadway production opened at the 46th Street Theatre on March 26, 1987. It won the Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Performance by a Leading Actor (James Earl Jones), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play (Mary Alice) and Best Direction of a Play (Lloyd Richards.) It ran for 525 performances and closed on June 26, 1988. It also won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The play’s Broadway revival opened at the Cort Theatre in 2010 and starred Denzel Washington in the lead role as Troy Maxson, and Viola Davis as Rose, and it’s this production that inspired the making of the new film adaptation. Both Washington and Davis have reprised their Tony Award-winning roles for the big screen. As directed by Washington, the film recently wrapped production in the city where the story is set; Pittsburgh, PA.
Valley audiences will have to wait until Christmas Day to see the PG-13 big screen adaptation, but you have an invitation to see the film in advance of the December 25 opening. On Tuesday, December 20 there will be a special advance screening of Fences at Harkins Shea 14 on E. Shea Blvd. At 7:00pm, and you are invited.
To find out more about the film, the advanced screening, and to print your theatre screening passes, CLICK HERE.
Plus, CLICK HERE to revisit the full review as written in this column of the thrilling February 2016 theatrical production of Fences as presented by Arizona Theatre Company at Herberger Center, Phoenix.