Initial casting is set for the national tour of the 2017 Broadway production of August Wilson's Jitney, which kicks off at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C.
Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson will again direct the Wilson drama, the recipient of the Tony for Best Revival of a Play. Performances of Jitney, which opens Arena Stage’s August Wilson Festival, are scheduled for September 13–October 20 in the Kreeger Theater. The tour will subsequently play Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle.
The production will feature several cast members from the 2017 staging, including Harvy Blanks (Toni Stone) as Shealy, Tony nominee Anthony Chisholm (Radio Golf, Gem of the Ocean) as Fielding, Keith Randolph Smith (Fences, King Hedley II) as Doub, and Ray Anthony Thomas (The Crucible, Race) as Turnbo.
Also making their Arena debuts are Francois Battiste (Magic/Bird, Bronx Bombers) as Booster, Amari Cheatom (On the Levee, The Book of Grace) as Youngblood, and Brian D. Coats (Luke Cage, Invisible Man) as Philmore.
Set in the early 1970s, Jitney follows a group of men trying to make a living by driving unlicensed cabs. The dramatic story of a Pittsburgh jitney station becomes a symbol of stability as the drivers resist powerful forces while coming to grips with their pasts to fulfill their own hopes and dreams for the future.
The creative team also includes set designer David Gallo, costume designer Toni-Leslie James, lighting designer Jane Cox, co-sound designers Darron L West and Charles Coes, composer Bill Sims Jr., and fight director Thomas Schall.
“Arena has a long love affair with August Wilson’s work, going all the way back to 1987 and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Wilson is one of our most-produced playwrights, so it felt celebratory to mark our 70th Anniversary Season with a season-long festival highlighting his work and the impact he has on the American theatre,” stated Artistic Director Molly Smith. “What a thrill to have Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s award-winning production of Jitney kick off a national tour from Arena to other theatres around America. Each of Wilson’s plays tackle deep human relationships, and Jitney will take us on an emotional journey.”