JULY 1 – AUGUST 6, 2022
August Wilson’s FENCES
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR DRAMA
Written by: August Wilson
Directed by: Monty Cole
This is the sensational drama about Troy Maxson, a former star of the Negro Baseball League, who now works as a garbage man in Pittsburgh. Troy and his wife Rose want the American Dream – to own a house with a white picket fence that keeps the family safe and trouble out. When mistrust builds and secrets are revealed, this iconic Black family begins to crumble in America’s embrace. Director Monty Cole’s innovative and intimate production explodes Wilson’s masterful text with raw emotion. You’ve never seen Fences like this before!
(New location!) Theater Wit
1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago 60657
July 1 – August 6, 2022
Box Office: (773) 975-8150
Runs 2 hours and 15 minutes with intermission
Tickets range $25-$45 + $2.75 Theater Wit venue fee
Recommended for ages 14+
Thursdays: 7:30 PM
Fridays: 7:30 PM
Saturdays: 2:30 PM (except July 2 & 9) & 7:30 PM (except Aug 6)
Sundays: 2:30 PM
Tickets available May 31!
CAST: Kamal Bolden (Troy Maxson), Manny Buckley* (Gabriel), Shanésia Davis (Rose), Ajax Dontavius (Cory), Martel Manning (Jim Bono), William Anthony Sebastian Rose II (Lyons), and Riley Wells (Raynell).
PRODUCTION TEAM: August Wilson (playwright), Monty Cole (director), Yeaji Kim (scenic design), Jared Gooding* (lighting design), Stephanie Cluggish (costume design), Rick Sims* (sound design), Verity Neely (properties design), TBD (fight & intimacy design), Cara Parrish* (stage manager), Shandee Vaughan* (production manager), and more.
*Ensemble member or Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater.
KAMAL BOLDEN he/him (Troy Maxson) A native of Peoria, IL, Kamal graduated from Bradley University with a degree in Business Administration-Entrepreneurship. Theatre: the lead role of Hero in Father Comes Home From The Wars Parts 1,2, & 3 (Goodman Theatre), Immediate Family directed by Phylicia Rashad (Mark Taper Forum), the title role of Chad Deity in the world premiere of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Victory Gardens Theater), Jitney, The Misanthrope, and Home (Court Theatre), Coriolanus (Nashville Shakespeare), SS: Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare). Off-Broadway: AUDELCO Award for Best Actor in Reparations at the historic Billie Holiday Theatre and a nomination for The Opponent at 59E59St Theatre. Film: Vacation Friends, The Night Before, Ravers, Keys to the City, Elvis & Nixon. Television: Series Regular on The Endgame (NBC), 61st Street, Chicago Fire, Insecure, The Resident, Law & Order SVU, Rosewood, NCIS, Major Crimes, Betrayal, Low Winter Sun, Boss, Lights Out.
MANNY BUCKLEY he/him (Gabriel) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. He is a Chicago-based director, actor, playwright and teaching artist. Blues credits include It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, Six Corners, Looking Over the President’s Shoulder (Jeff Award Nomination-Best Solo Performance), and Dutchman/TRANSit (Black Theatre Alliance Award Nomination). Manny toured nationally as “Satchel Paige” in the original production of The Satchel Paige Story, and appeared in The Father (Helen Hayes Award Nomination) at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. He originated the role of “Carson” in Hit the Wall, which sold out extensions in Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep. Select Chicago credits include The Brothers Size, 1984, and Of Mice and Men (Steppenwolf); Dorian (House Theater); and Love’s Labor’s Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Mr. Buckley is the recipient of a Black Theatre Alliance, and Black Excellence Award. He most recently directed Kingdom, an audio drama, with Broken Nose Theatre.
SHANÉSIA DAVIS she/her (Rose) is thrilled to return to American Blues Theater where she was last seen in their co-production of Native Son with Court Theatre. As an actress, some of her credits include works at Steppenwolf, Northlight, Porchlight Music Theatre, Goodman, Congo Square, Mark Taper Forum, Cleveland Playhouse, CenterStage Baltimore, The Gift Theatre, Kansas City Rep, and Court Theatre, to name a few. She has been Jeff Award nominated several times and is a Black Theatre Alliance Award recipient, as well as Excellence in the Arts recipient. Film credits include Chicago Stories: Ida B. Wells, The Thing about Harry, Working Man, BLUEPRINT, External Rivals, Consumed, Damaged Goods, Cleveland Abduction, Morning Due, The Weatherman, Uncle Nino, Life Sentence, and Chicago Cab, among others. Television credits includes Emmy nominated Lovecraft Country (HBO), Proven Innocent (FOX), Empire (FOX), Chicago Fire (NBC), CRISIS (ABC), Detroit 187 (ABC), and series regular on Early Edition (CBS). She is a proud member of Equity and SAG/AFTRA unions as well as Artistic Associate of Congo Square Theater and Assistant Teaching Professor at Roosevelt University, CCPA. Mama loves you Nam and Tae!
AJAX DONTAVIUS he/him (Cory) is a Chicago-based actor who is so excited to join this amazing production of Fences. Previously, Ajax has co-starred on NBC’s Chicago P.D. and will appear on the second season of AMC’s 61st Street. He was last seen on stage in Lifeline Theatre’s stage adaptation of Middle Passage as Rutherford Calhoun. Ajax would love to thank God for this amazing opportunity. As well as his beautiful wife, Delaney, for her undying support and love, his incredible Mom and family and last but not least, his agents at Gray Talent. Psalm 119:105 www.ajaxdontavius.com
MARTEL MANNING he/him (Jim Bono) is thrilled to be returning to the stage with these amazing people. Chicago credits include: Photograph 51 (Court Theatre), Her Majesty’s Will (Lifeline Theatre), as well as Pillowman, Kentucky, and Hamlet (The Gift Theatre). Regional credits include: Romeo & Juliet – Juliet’s Journey (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Still Dance the Stars (New Light Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Michigan Shakespeare Festival). Martel received an MFA in Acting from the University of Houston Professional Actor Training Program and is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.
WILLIAM ANTHONY SEBASTIAN ROSE II he/him (Lyons) is excited and thankful to making his debut with American Blues Theater. He is a Chicago based actor most recently featured as King Henri Christophe in The House Theatre’s The Tragedy of King Christophe. He was last seen in an on-stage, in-person production with Broken Nose Theatre’s Labyrinth as a still wet behind the ears loan officer. He has also had the privilege of working with Kunoichi Productions virtual presentation of The True Tale of Princess Kaguya as the psychotic Emperor and power hungry but moronically pathetic Prince; a man searching for his truth in Victory Gardens Theaters’ The First Deep Breath; a dilettante English lord fancying himself an amateur sleuth in Whose Body, Lifeline Theatre; a forgotten political prisoner fighting for change in We Are Pussy Riot, Red Tape Theatre. You can also see him on display now in the Chicago Maritime Museum exhibit as the founder of Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. TV credits include Lovecraft County. Represented by Big Mouth Talent Agency. IG: @hiswillness
RILEY WELLS she/her (Raynell) is very excited to be a part of Fences at American Blues Theater. She recently worked on a short film “They Say Time Heals” as Anisah as well as the CW’s television show 4400. Riley studies dance and acting at FieldCrest School of Performing Arts. She also studies voice and piano at the MuzicNet. For fun, Riley enjoys engineering, space, gymnastics. She wants to thank her parents, Marlon and Keli, and grandma and sister for always supporting her passions.
Understudies to be announced later.
AUGUST WILSON (April 27, 1945 – October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of the descendants of Africans in North America, decade by decade, over the course of the twentieth century, forming the compilation entitled The American Century Cycle. His plays have been produced on Broadway, at regional theaters across the country, and all over the world. Mr. Wilson’s works garnered many awards including: the Pulitzer Prize for Fences (1987) and for The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney; and seven New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, and Jitney. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, the Whiting Writers Award and the 2003 Heinz Award. He was awarded a 1999 National Humanities Medal by President Bill Clinton and received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and on October 16, 2005, Broadway renamed the theater located at 245 West 52nd Street “The August Wilson Theatre.” Mr. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lived in Seattle, Washington at the time of his death. He is immediately survived by his two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero, who is the executor of his estate.
MONTY COLE he/him (Director) is an award-winning theatre and film writer-director from Oak Park, IL. He has directed for The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Center Theatre Group, The Playwrights Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Victory Gardens Theater, the Center for New Performance, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Alley Theatre and others. Recent projects include directing the workshop of world premiere Adrienne Kennedy play, Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side for the Center for New Performance in California. His re-interpretations of classics from Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape to Hamlet have received awards and critical praise in Chicago. As a writer, his plays include American Teenager (a commission from the Goodman Theatre) and Black Like Me, an adaptation of the 1961 novel currently in development with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Cole was one of four writers in the Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit and is currently an Artist in Residence at the Center for New Performance, a fellow at Hermitage Artist Retreat, and a Research Scholar of the Bridge to Faculty at UIC. In 2021, Cole directed three short films: SIX FEET APART by Isaac Gomez, SONS OF TOLEDO, written by Cole and Matt Foss, and his own short, WHOLE. SONS OF TOLEDO has appeared in film festivals around the world including winning Best African American Short at the Phoenix Film Festival, while the other two shorts are in post-production. Monty has a BA in Theatre Studies from Emerson College and an MFA Directing degree from the California Institute of the Arts.
YEAJI KIM she/her (Scenic Design) is excited to work with American Blues Theater for the first time. Yeaji is a scenic and video projections designer based in Chicago. Her recent Chicago credits include White (Steppenwolf Theatre LookOut Series; Scenic & Projections design), In Every Generation (Victory Garden Theater; Projections design), Passage, The Year Of Magical Thinking (Remy Bumppo Theatre; Scenic design), Solaris (Griffin Theatre; Projections design), The Secret Council (First Folio Theatre; Projections design). Her regional credits are The Chinese Lady (Geva Theatre, Kitchen Theatre, NY; Scenic design). Her projections design for Strawdog’s The Effect has been nominated for 2020 Jeff Awards Non-Equity Projections Design, and her scenic design for The Great Expectations (Co-production Remy Bumppo & Silk Road Rising) was nominated for Best Scenic Design for Broadway World Chicago. Future projects include Dear Jack Dear Louise (Northlight Theatre, IL), Fun Home (Paramount, IL). For more information, please visit yeajikimdesign.com.
JARED GOODING he/him (Lighting Design) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. His design credits include designs for Writers Theatre, Court Theatre, Florentine Opera Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, First Stage Theater, Depaul University, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, TimeLine Theatre, Bristol Riverside Theater, Madison Children’s Theater, University of Illinois Chicago Theatre, University of Indiana Northwest, Remy Bumpo Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, The Hypocrites, Definition Theatre, Windy City Playhouse, Sideshow Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, First Floor Theater, About Face Theatre, MPAACT, Pegasus Theatre, and serving as the Lighting Assistant for The Wiz Live on NBC along with Associate Designing for Lookingglass Theatre’s touring of Lookingglass Alice in Miami and Denver. He spends weekends as a professional DJ and his design work is work is featured at goodingdesigns.com.
STEPHANIE CLUGGISH she/her (Costume Design)
RICK SIMS he/him (Sound Design) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. He has composed and designed sound for numerous Chicago-area theaters, including Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, American Blues Theater, Congo Square Theatre, Writers Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Hypocrites, House Theatre of Chicago, Court Theatre, American Theater Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Raven Theatre, Steep Theatre, Northlight Theatre, and About Face Theatre. His additional credits include The Getty, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Portland Playhouse. Rick won Jeff Awards for Sound Design for Moby Dick and Hepheastus (Lookingglass Theatre Company), a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Brothers in the Dust (Congo Square Theatre), and has received several nominations for both awards. Rick also wrote the book, music, and lyrics for Hillbilly Antigone at Lookingglass Theatre Company, where he is an Artistic Associate.
VERITY NEELY she/her (Props Design) is a Properties Designer from Central Wisconsin. She has recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and has been able to work on musicals, plays, and dance. In the last year, Verity had the opportunity to work with NewArts in Connecticut, as well as an upcoming dance company: Sock Opera Dance. She greatly enjoys the theatrical world and how we are able to create meaningful, as well as fun works that not only move the audience but the actors and designers that get the opportunity to see them. She loves helping create a space in which anyone who enters, can escape their reality for a moment and be entertained and captivated.
SHANDEE VAUGHAN she/her (Production Manager)
MONET FELTON they/them (Assistant Director)
RACHEL WEST she/her (Associate Lighting Design and Master Electrician) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. She recently worked as Asst Lighting Designer & Master Electrician on It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! and as Master Electrician on Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight. She has been serving as the Master Electrician for American Blues since 2018. Rachel is the Lighting Supervisor for Porchlight Music Theatre where she recently designed Nunsense as part of their Revisits series of lost musicals. She works with The Black Ensemble Theater, Mercury Theater, MCA Chicago, Actors Gymnasium, and volunteers with the Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation teaching theater to individuals with special needs. She is a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Boston University School of Theatre.
DELENA BRADLEY she/her (Associate Costume Designer)
MANNY ORTIZ he/him (Technical Director)
CARA PARRISH she/her (Stage Manager) is a proud Ensemble Member of American Blues Theater where she is also the Office & HR Manager. Chicago credits: Gem of the Ocean, Electra, Hard Problem, Photograph 51, Five Guys Named Moe, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Lady From the Sea (2020) (Court Theatre); WITCH, Port Authority, Yellow Moon, The Letters, The Caretaker, Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf, The Blond, The Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead (Writers Theatre); Too Heavy for Your Pocket, The Vibrator Play (TimeLine Theatre Company); James and the Giant Peach (Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook); Jabari Dreams of Freedom (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Romeo and Juliet, Emma (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight, Beauty’s Daughter, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (American Blues Theater). Cara thanks her family and friends for all of their love and support.
BREANA YOUNG she/her (Assistant Stage Manager)
CARLY JO GEER she/her (Young Performer Supervisor)
We raise awareness of other non-profit organizations’ great causes through creative collaborations. We’re proud to partner with Northwestern University’s The Family Institute, and Chicago Public Schools. We’re proud to announce our “Pediatric Previews” that donates proceeds of preview performances to children’s hospitals.
MORE INFORMATION ON AUGUST WILSON’S FENCES
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