August Wilson Bio - August Wilson 1945-2005 By Kevin...

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Unformatted text preview: August Wilson 1945-2005 By Kevin O’Brien Wednesday, February 16, 2011 • Born April 27, 1945 as Frederick August Kittel to Daisy Wilson and Frederick Kittel. Was the fourth child of seven. • His father was not there for most of his life. • He later adopted his mother’s maiden name. • Spent his childhood in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, a lively but poor neighborhood. • Became the base setting for many of his plays. Wednesday, February 16, 2011 Childhood Education • He was the only black student in his class in Central Catholic High school where he received daily threats and abuse which drove him out. • He then went to Connelley Vocational high School which he did not find challenging. • In 1960 he dropped out of Gladstone High School in the 10th grade because a teacher accused him of plagiarizing a 20 page paper on Napoleon. Wednesday, February 16, 2011 1960s • In 1962-63 Wilson enlists in the U.S. Army for three years but only stays for one. He then went to hold a various amount of jobs. • In 1965 Discovers the blues. One in particular Bessie Smith’s “Nobody Can Bake a Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine”. • Frederick Kittel passes away. • He buys his first typewriter to write poetry • In 1968 he co-founds Black Horizon Theater in Pittsburgh with Rob Penny and Sala Udin, along with others. His first play Recycling was played at small theaters and public housing. Wednesday, February 16, 2011 1970s • Wilson continues to be active in Black Arts movement. In 1971 and 1972 he had his poetry published in journals Black Word and Black Lines • In 1976 his play The Homecoming was directed by Vernell Lillie at the Kuntu Repertory Theater. Wilson also sees his first professional play. Athol Fugard’s “Sizwe Bansi is Dead” • In 1978 he moves to Saint Paul Minnesota at the suggestion of a friend, Claude Wednesday, February 16, 2011 1980s • In 1980s he received a fellowship for The Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. • 1982 he wrote his the play “Jitney” which focused on cab drivers in the 1970s. • In 1984 his first major play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” opened on Broadway and was a critical and financial success. • 1987 “Fences” opened on Broadway. The play was about the conflict between father and son. It wins NYDCC award and Wilson’s first Pulitzer Prize. The play grosses 11 million in its first year, a Broadway record for a non-musical. • 1988 the play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” appears on Broadway. The story was about the lives of residents Wednesday, February 16, 2011 1990s • In 1990 “Piano Lesson” opens on Broadway, which won another NYDCC Award and his second Pulitzer Prize. Which is set in the 1930s that followed a family’s confliction on selling an heirloom. • 1992 “Two Trains Running” opened on Broadway which wins his fourth NYDCC Award for best American play. The play is based around a coeehouse in the 1960s. • 1996 “Seven Guitars” goes on Broadway, which wins his NYDCC Award. • 1998 Wilson teaches playwriting at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Also awarded the Edward Albee Theater Conference in Valdez, Wednesday, February 16, 2011 2000s • Jitney arrives in New York o Broadway. This wins his seventh NYDCC Award. • 2001 “King Hedley II” hits Broadway, first play not to receive NYDCC Award. Follows an ex con trying to rebuild his life in the 1980s. • 2002 “Jitney” wins London’s Oliver Award for year’s best play. • 2004 “Gem of the Ocean” opens on Broadway. A play about Aunt Ester who is a 287 year old spiritual healer who is mentioned in other plays. This takes place in 1904. • In 2005 “Radio Golf” premieres at Yale Rep in March. Wilson was diagnosed with deadly liver Wednesday, February 16, 2011 The Pittsburgh Cycle or • 1900s - Gem of the Ocean (2003) • 1910s - Joe Turner's Come and Gone (1988) • 1920s - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1984) set in Chicago • 1930s - The Piano Lesson (1990) - Pulitzer Prize[4] • 1940s - Seven Guitars (1995) • 1950s - Fences (1987) - Pulitzer Prize[4] • 1960s - Two Trains Running (1991) • 1970s - Jitney (1982) • 1980s - King Hedley II (1999) Wednesday, February 16, 2011 Bibliography • "August Wilson." 2011. Biography.com. 13 Feb 2011, 12:57 http://www.biography.com/ articles/August-Wilson-9533583. • Rawston, Christopher. "August Wilson: A Timeline, 1945-2005." Post-gazette. Pittsburgh Post-gazette, 3 Oct. 2005. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <http://www.post-gazette.com/ pg/05276/581765.stm>. • "August Wilson." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Wilson>. Wednesday, February 16, 2011 ...
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