Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, The Color Purple, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on Broadway) will join Harry Lennix ("24," Stomp the Yard) and Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, or Change; "All My Children"), the stars of the Broadway production of August Wilson's Radio Golf, the show's co-producer Tamara Tunie ("Law & Order: SVU") and August Wilson's widow Constanza Romero to kick off August Wilson Day, honoring the late two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Friday, April 27th at 10am in Bryant Park. Marking what would have been Wilson's 62nd birthday, the event kicks off a day-long tribute to the nation's greatest African-American playwright.
Radio Golf, the 10th and final play in Wilson's unprecedented century cycle, is in previews at Broadway's Cort Theatre and opens there May8, 2007.
August Wilson Day will include: a performance of the rarely-heard August Wilson poetic monologue, "Janitor;" Radio Golf'sHarry Lennix, Tonya Pinkins and Tamara Tunie paying tribute to Wilson and announcement of a partnership with New York City's public schools in which some 300 students in all 5 boroughs will study "Janitor" as part of the city-wide "Poem In Your Pocket" celebration; the proclamation by The League of American Theatres and Producers of April 27th as August Wilson Day on Broadway; "Poem In Your Pocket Day" festivities, a day-long free poetry reading, hosted by the Bryant Park Reading Room; poets from NY Scores, the Academy of American Poets, Cornell University, CUNY and Urban Word NYC reading from their latest work, and students from NYC's intermediate and high schools reading their poems during the open mic forum in the afternoon.
The celebration will continue throughout the day in New York and across the country, with activities such as: a special post-show celebration at the evening performance of Radio Golf at the Cort Theatre; post-show curtain speeches at regional theatres nationwide; American Theatre Wing Seminars on August Wilson, including stars, director and producer of Radio Golf; proclamations of tribute from National Black Theater Festival, New York Black Librarians Caucus, and the Brooklyn Public Library.
August Wilson 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, Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African-Americans, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century. Awards include two Pulitzer Prizes, a Tony Award, Britain's Olivier Award, seven NY Drama Critics Circle Awards, and an Emmy nomination. Wilson passed away on October 2, 2005. Two weeks later, in October 16, 2005, Broadway's Virginia Theatre was renamed the August Wilson Theatre, marking the first time a Broadway theatre has been named in honor of an African-American.
For more information about August Wilson and Radio Golf, visit www.radiogolfonbroadway.com.
Photo of Whoopi Goldberg by Linda Lenzi