|By David Lefkowitz
Published March 19 2008
With August Wilson's 10-play cycle already a part of the canon of modern theater classics, and with black productions recently making stronger inroads into commercial Broadway (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Passing Strange, The Color Purple), what better time for a revival of Wilson's most commercially successful work, Fences?
Actually, the idea for a revival was none other than Wilson's. Dining with producer Carole Shorenstein Hays in 2005 on his 60th birthday, the playwright suggested a remount of his hard-hitting family drama. Hays agreed, and even though Wilson died that October, she's been working towards bringing Fences back ever since.
This week, she told the New York Times that a revival would happen in the fall, with Pulitzer-winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog) staging. Parks, who will be making her Broadway directing debut, told the Tmes she wants to ensure the play stays, edgy and intense.
No specific dates or theater have been announced for Fences, which is set in the 1950s and thus fits chronologically in the middle of his cycle, which offered one play per decade of the 20th Century:
1900s - Gem of the Ocean
1910s - Joe Turner's Come and Gone
1920s - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
1930s - The Piano Lesson
1940s - Seven Guitars
1950s - Fences
1960s - Two Trains Running
1970s - Jitney
1980s - King Hedley II
1990s - Radio Golf
Fences won a Best-Play Tony, New York Drama Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize for its 1987 Broadway premiere, with James Earl Jones, currently in Cat, netting a Tony for his galvanic performance as the father, Troy Maxson.