University of Pittsburgh
December 19, 2002

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre to Present Staged Readings of Two August Wilson Plays

Contact:  412-624-4147

December 20, 2002

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's Kuntu Repertory Theatre will present two August Wilson plays, "Black Bart and the Sacred Hills" and "The Homecoming," as staged readings from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

The plays are from Wilson's earlier works, and both have been performed previously at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., and by Kuntu. "Black Bart and the Sacred Hills" is a musical satire based in the old west and written in verse. "The Homecoming" is the story of a blues musician who gives his songs away and of the man who steals them.

Kuntu's 2002-03 season is dedicated to "mentors and protégés," featuring work by both new playwrights and established writers. Chris Jones, of the Chicago Tribune, writes: "With August Wilson as an involved mentor and the Kuntu Repertory Theatre as a proving ground, the city of Pittsburgh is spawning some very capable young black playwrights. It's one of the most exciting and underreported recent developments in the American theater."

Wilson, a native of Pittsburgh's Hill District who now lives in Seattle, is the author of "Jitney," "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," "Fences," "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," "The Piano Lesson," "Two Trains Running," "Seven Guitars," "King Hedley II," among other plays. His work has garnered many awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes, a Tony Award, and seven New York Drama Critics Circle awards. A cofounder with Rob Penny of Black Horizon Theatre in Pittsburgh and Kuntu Writers Workshop, Wilson has received several fellowships and honors, including Rockefeller and Guggenheim fellowships, a Whiting Writers Award, a 1999 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton, and numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a 1986 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Wilson's latest play, "Gem of the Ocean," will make its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in April 2003. "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" will open in January 2003 at the Royale Theatre in New York City and star Whoopi Goldberg.

The staged readings at Pitt are open to the public. For more information, call

412-624-7298.

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