August Wilson’s Modern American Classic, FENCES to Open at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

The Director and creative team of CSC’s hit production of A Raisin in the Sun return for this powerful classic 

CSC_Fences Press-8

Torie Wiggins as Rose and Crystian Wilshire as Cory. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Cincinnati, January 1, 2019 – Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues its 25th Anniversary Season at The Otto M. Budig Theater with August Wilson’s “Fences”, directed by Christopher V. Edwards and features “ranney” [sic] as Troy Maxson, Torie Wiggins as Rose and Crystian Wilshire as Cory. This production is generously sponsored by Frost Brown Todd, BB&T, and Johnson Investment Council.

Set against the backdrop of 1950’s Pittsburgh, August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning drama tells the story of Troy Maxson, a one-time star of the Negro baseball leagues who now works as a garbage man, holding court and expounding on life from the chair in his backyard. Due to his race, Troy was denied his shot at the Big Leagues, so when his son Cory wants his own chance to play ball, Troy’s bitterness and resentment threaten to tear their relationship apart.

“Fences” is the sixth play in The American Century Cycle by August Wilson.  Each of the ten plays is set in a different decade of the 20th century, and all but one take place in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, where Wilson was born in 1945. “Fences” was initially presented as a staged reading at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 1983 National Playwrights Conference. It opened on April 30, 1985, at the Yale Repertory Theatre in a production directed by Lloyd Richards, and the following year, the Richards-helmed Broadway premiere won every major accolade, including the Tony Award for Best Play, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, the John Gassner Outer Critics’ Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. That production, which featured James Earl Jones as Troy Maxson, ran for 525 performances and set a record for a non-musical Broadway production by grossing $11 million in a single year.  The Wall Street Journal said “Fences” had “a moving story line and a hero almost Shakespearian in contour.”

Director Christopher V. Edwards returns to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for the third time to direct this production after helming CSC’s popular productions of “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Othello”. Mr. Edwards says “It has been a pleasure working with Cincy Shakes over the past three years and being a part of the tremendous growth during the process.  Though I work with a my own company in Boston, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Cincy Shakes has become an artistic home away from home.  I am proud of the work I have been able to do with the amazing company of resident actors, the creative designers and the hardest working staff in show-biz.  The company shares a commitment to telling stories that are relevant, intellectually engaging and viscerally compelling.”  Mr. Edwards is currently the Artistic Director of Actors Shakespeare Project (ASP) in Boston, MA.  Prior to ASP, he was the Artistic Director of Nevada Conservatory Theatre (NCT) in Las Vegas.  Prior to Las Vegas, Chris was the Associate Artistic Director, Director of Education and Apprentice Training Program with The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) in NY.  Chris has worked in London’s West End, Off-Broadway, The National Theatre of Oslo in Norway, John Houseman’s The Acting Company, HERE Arts Center, The Helix in Ireland, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Flea Theater, Cleveland Playhouse, Hip-Hop Theatre Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, SOHO Rep, the Guthrie Theatre and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company to name a few. Chris received an M.F.A. from the U. of MN in Association with the Guthrie Theatre.

The creative team is made up of Shannon Moore (Scenic Designer), Justen N. Locke (Lighting Designer), and Douglas J. Borntrager (Sound/Video Designer) who worked together with Mr. Edwards on CSC’s powerful production of “A Raisin in the Sun”. They are joined by newcomer Kendra Johnson making her CSC debut as the Costume Designer for “Fences”.

Troy Maxson is portrayed by “ranney” [sic] in his CSC debut.  He has appeared in several of August Wilson’s other works including as Doub in American Stage Theatre’s “Jitney” (Outstanding Lead Role in a Play – Theatre Tampa Bay); Sterling in AST’s “Radio Golf” (Outstanding Feature Role in a Play – TTB), and Boy Willie in Center Theatre Company’s “The Piano Lesson” (Critic’s Choice for Best Actor – Creative Loafing).  He is joined by Torie Wiggins, playing his wife Rose, and Crystian Wiltshire as his son, Cory.  Torie and Crystian recently appeared on CSC’s stage together in “A Raisin in the Sun”.

Fences runs January 25- February 16, 2019 with performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM, as well as Saturday February 16 at 2:00 PM.  Preview performances are Wednesday, January 23 and Thursday, January 23 at 7:30 PM and tickets are $30.  Advance sale single ticket prices start at $28.  Day-of Student Rush tickets are $14 and may be purchased thirty minutes before a show with a valid student ID if available. This production is a part of this season’s subscription package. Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Ticketing fees apply.  To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CSC Box Office at 513.381.BARD (2273) ext. 1, or go online at http://www.cincyshakes.com.

On Saturday, Feb. 9, and Sunday, Feb. 10 bring your younger kids (4+) for artist-led childcare DURING the performance! The “Playdate” program is only $15 and free for subscribers. The option to add this program will be available as you are buying tickets for either of these show dates. Activities will range from storytime to theatre games and crafts. Share the great benefits of CSC’s programming with your children: Playdate will style activities to correspond with each production, so even your youngest can join in the discussion on the ride home!

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is located at The Otto M. Budig Theater at 1195 Elm Street in OTR, adjacent to Washington Park.  There are many parking spaces available on the street and in nearby lots and garages- for more information visit http://www.otrchamber.com/pages/WheretoPark.

CSC also offers Valet Parking for every performance! Make reservations for $15 in advance when purchasing tickets or visit www.cincyshakes.com/parking. Purchasing in advance guarantees a spot at the discounted rate of $15 (vs. $20+ at the curb).  Valet is available right at the corner of 12th and Elm Street in front of the theater and begins approx. 1.5 hours before a performance. Cars can be picked up for up to one hour following a performance. (After one hour, you will need to arrange pick up with the valet service directly.) The valet will have your name on the list after you purchase- it’s that easy!

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About Cincinnati Shakespeare Company:
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing Shakespeare and the classics to life for audiences of all ages.  In the summer of 2017, the theater relocated to the Otto M. Budig Theater, a brand new facility in OTR. CSC’s repertoire is made up of the works of William Shakespeare, literary adaptations, and contemporary classics.  CSC performs on a Small Professional Theatre contract with Actors’ Equity Association. Cincinnati Shakespeare is a member of the Theater Communications Group and the Shakespeare Theatre Association.  Each year, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Education and Outreach Programs reach over 50,000 young people and underserved community members each season by taking Shakespeare into schools, parks, community centers and by hosting educational matinees of mainstage productions.  In 2015, CSC was proud to become one of the first five theaters in the United States to “Complete the Canon” by producing all 38 plays by William Shakespeare. CSC is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.  Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is proud to be Cincinnati’s stage for the classics!

About The 2018-2019 25th Anniversary Season:
The season is generously sponsored by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.  The 25th Anniversary sponsor is the The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, JR./U.S. Bank Foundation.  This season is funded by ArtsWave.  Cincinnati Shakespeare Company receives operating support from The Ohio Arts Council, the Shubert Foundation.  The season’s marketing design sponsor is POSSIBLE. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program/organization with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. Production dates and information on the season are available online at www.cincyshakes.com.

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