Arden Theatre Company Celebrates August Wilson With Two Unique Productions in 2019

This winter and spring, the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia will celebrate the work of late playwright August Wilson with two productions that explore the genius of the iconic writer.  Wilson’s GEM OF THE OCEAN, the first installment of his decade-by-decade, ten-play chronicle, The American Century Cycle, begins performances on February 27, 2019 at the F. Otto Haas Stage.  Starting on March 7, 2019, Wilson’s autobiographical solo show, HOW I LEARNED WHAT I LEARNED, co-conceived by Todd Kreidler, will play the Bob and Selma Horan Studio Theatre at the Arden’s Hamilton Family Arts Center.


“We are honored to continue our exploration of the extraordinary work of August Wilson,” said Arden Producing Artistic Director Terrence Nolen.  “This is our fourth production of Wilson’s monumental American Century Cycle, having previously produced FENCES, THE PIANO LESSON, and TWO TRAINS RUNNING.  We’re thrilled that we will be producing his work on two of our stages this winter, giving audiences the chance to experience this first play of the cycle and then to see the Pittsburgh’s Hill District, the community in which GEM and most of Wilson’s plays are set, through his own eyes and in his words in this powerful memoir.”


Set in 1904, GEM OF THE OCEAN journeys to Pittsburgh’s Hill District and takes audiences on a magical, mystical exploration across history and time to tell a story of freedom, justice, and redemption.  The Arden’s production is directed by award-winning theatre artist and playwright James Ijames, and features Zuhairah McGill as Aunt Ester, Danielle Leneé as Black Mary, Steven Wright as Eli, Akeem Davis as Citizen Barlow, Brian Anthony Wilson as Solly, Bowman Wright as Caesar, and Brian McCann as Selig.  Opening night for press is Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 7PM.


The late playwright Wilson shares stories about his first jobs, first loves, and his encounters with racism in HOW I LEARNED WHAT I LEARNED, a one-person theatrical memoir that charts Wilson’s journey of self-discovery through adversity.  The production is directed by celebrated artist Malika Oyetimein and features Kes Khemnu as Wilson.  There are two opening nights for press: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 7PM and Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 7PM.


Single tickets to both productions are currently on sale at or by visiting the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia.  Service details are below.



Arden Theatre Company presents



By August Wilson
Directed by James Ijames
F. Otto Haas Stage, Arden Theatre Company (40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia)
February 27, 2019-March 31, 2019




Co-Conceived by August Wilson and Todd Kreidler
Directed by Malika Oyetimein
Bob and Selma Horan Studio Theatre, Hamilton Family Arts Center (62 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia)

March 7, 2019-April 14, 2019



Student, Industry, and Military discounts available.

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