Press Room

PTC Presents August Wilson’s FENCES

December 16, 2016
For: IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Madeleine Gail Rex
801-581-7222
madeleine.rex@ptc.utah.edu

PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS
Fences
By August Wilson

Salt Lake City – Pioneer Theatre Company presents Fences, the critically renowned play by August Wilson. The timeless drama about fathers and sons runs January 6 to January 21, 2017.

Fences tells the story of Troy Maxson, a former star of the Negro baseball league, now a garbage man in 1950’s Pittsburgh. Troy’s determined bitterness over his exclusion from the all-white major leagues causes conflict within his family as his son Cory aims to pursue his own dreams to play ball with a college football scholarship. Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, August Wilson’s play has been popular with critics and audiences alike since its premiere in 1983.

The professional Equity cast of six is joined by a local child actor.

MICHAEL ANTHONY WILLIAMS plays Troy Maxson. Williams has previously been involved in other productions of August Wilson’s work, performing in Jitney with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Ford’s Theatre, in Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Swine Palace, and twice in Two Trains Running with Round House Theatre and the African Continuum Theater Company. Williams has also appeared on television, with roles on HBO’s “The Wire,” Discovery Channel’s “FBI Files” and NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” as well as in film. His film credits include Losing Isaiah, The Replacements, Contact, Unbreakable and The Brave One. This is his PTC debut.

BIKO EISEN-MARTIN, JIMMIE “J.J.” JETER, JEFFERSON A. RUSSELL, GAYLE SAMUELS, and JEORGE BENNETT WATSON comprise the remaining Equity cast.

BIKO EISEN-MARTIN plays Lyons, Troy’s oldest son and a struggling but skilled musician. Eisen-Martin is also making his PTC debut, having previously performed in the Off-Broadway production of Lift and numerous regional productions, including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at Folger Theatre, To Kill a Mockingbird with the Denver Center Theatre Company, and TheatreWorks’s production of August Wilson’s Radio Golf. In addition to his theatrical credits, Eisen-Martin appeared in the film Poetic License.

The role of Cory, Troy’s ambitious teenage son with dreams of playing ball, is played by JIMMIE “J.J.” JETER. A 2016 graduate of The Juilliard School in New York City, Jeter has performed in the Broadway production of My Letter to Broadway, as well as in the regional production of Romeo and Juliet at the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

JEFFERSON A. RUSSELL is Gabriel, Troy’s brother and a World War II veteran. Russell has previously performed in a number of August Wilson’s plays, including Jitney at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Piano Lesson with Hangar Theatre, Two Trains Running with Round House Theatre, and Gem of the Ocean at Everyman Theatre. Among many other theatrical credits, he performed in the Kennedy Center National Tour of Harlem.

GAYLE SAMUELS plays Troy’s wife, Rose. Samuels’ Broadway credits include Sunset Boulevard, Gring, Dancin’, and Dreamgirls. Off-Broadway, she performed in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and in Sistahs and Little Shop of Horrors. Samuels has also worked in television and film, appearing in Bull, Madame Secretary, The Americans, Twenty Good Years, The Class, Black Nativity, The Tides That Bind and HoneyBee.

Bono, Troy’s closest friend, is played by JEORGE BENNETT WATSON, who recently performed in Fences with Triad Stages. He has also appeared in a production of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson at Arena Stage, in addition to shows with other regional theatres. Watson’s television and film credits include Lifetime Movie Network’s untitled affair project, NBC’s “Homicide: Life in the Streets,” HBO’s “The Wire,” FX’s “Justified,” Showtime’s “Shameless” and CBS’s “Cold Case.”

Local young actor, seven-year-old MEG HOGLUND, plays the role of Raynell, completing the cast.

Director TIMOTHY DOUGLAS is returning to PTC, having directed Clybourne Park in 2013. Douglas has directed over 100 projects for theatre companies nationally and internationally, including the world premiere of August Wilson’s Radio Golf for Marin Theatre Company. He served for four seasons as director in residence at the Mark Taper Forum/Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, and for three seasons as associate artistic director for the Actors Theatre of Louisville. Among his projects at the Actors Theatre of Louisville were Wilson’s Fences, Jitney and The Piano Lesson. He is a graduate of the acting program at the Yale School of Drama.

Scenic design is by TONY CISEK. Cisek has worked with Timothy Douglas on productions of Disgraced and August Wilson’s King Hedley II at Arena Stage. Other credits include Jitney by Wilson, Clybourne Park and the premier of Safe House at Cincinnati Playhouse; and Wilson’s Two Trains Running at Round House Theatre, as well as numerous projects at theatres across the country.

Costume Designer BRENDA VAN DER WIEL is a member of the design faculty for the University of Utah Theatre Department and also serves as head of the university’s Performing Arts Design Program. Van Der Weil is a regular designer for PTC and The Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Previously, she has designed for PTC’s Outside Mullingar, Alabama Story, Rent, Emma and A Christmas Story, among others.

Lighting design is by MICHAEL GILLIAM, who is returning to PTC after opening the season with The Last Ship. Gilliam has extensive experience on Broadway, in the West End, and in numerous regional theatres. On Broadway, he designed for Bonnie and Clyde, Brooklyn, Big River and Stand-Up Tragedy. He has also designed for National Tours such as Peter Pan, Brooklyn, Guys and Dolls and Big River. In 1999, he received the Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle.

Hair and makeup design is by PTC resident designer AMANDA FRENCH; sound design is by PTC resident designer JOSHUA C. HIGHT.

MARTINE KEI GREEN-ROGERS, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah, serves as dramaturg for this production.

* * *

PUBLICITY PHOTO SHOOT: There will be an off-site Publicity Photo Shoot near the University of Utah, on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. Please call 801-581-6270 to RSVP and for location.

MEDIA PHOTOS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD:

High-resolution color photos of this production will be available for media use on the PTC website beginning Wednesday, December 28, 2016 after 3:00 p.m. Go directly to http://www.pioneertheatre.org/press-room/media-photos/ to view the photos.

TV CAMERA FILMING: Filming a short segment of the production during Preview or Opening Night for press use can be arranged. Call 801-581-6270.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with the cast and artistic staff are available. Call 801-581-6270.

WHO:
Pioneer Theatre Company

WHAT:
Fences
By August Wilson

WHEN:
January 6 – January 21, 2017

TIMES:
New Curtain Times 2016-2017 Season
Mondays – Thursdays, 7:00 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday matinees, 2:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre
300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City

PRICES:
$25 – $44 in advance, and $5 more when purchased on the day of the show
Kids in grades K-12 are half-price on Mondays and Tuesdays

MORE INFO:
Box Office: 801-581-6961
Open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon – Fri
www.pioneertheatre.org

CAST:

MEG HOGLUND………………………… Raynell
JIMMIE “J.J.” JETER*…………………….. Cory
BIKO EISEN-MARTIN*…………………… Lyons
JEFFERSON A. RUSSELL*………………. Gabriel
GAYLE SAMUELS*………………………. Rose
JEORGE BENNETT WATSON*…………… Bono
MICHAEL ANTHONY WILLIAMS*………… Troy

ARTISTIC TEAM:

Director………………………………………………………. Timothy Douglas*
Scenic Designer………………………………………………. Tony Cisek
Costume Designer…………………………………………….. Brenda Van Der Wiel
Lighting Designer……………………………………………… Michael Gilliam
Sound Designer……………………………………………….. Joshua C. Hight
Hair and Makeup Designer……………………………………. Amanda French
Dramaturg………………………………………………………Martine Kei Green-Rogers
Stage Manager………………………………………………… Tanya J. Searle*
1st Assistant Stage Manager………………………………….. Analysha Mulcock
2nd Assistant Stage Manager……. …………………………… Nasira Barker
* Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Pioneer Theatre Company operates under an agreement between the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah’s only fully professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing assistance devices and other easy-access features.