Theatre lovers rejoice! Thanks to an ambitious project from WNYC, New York City’s flagship public radio station, 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle” are now available for free listening.
Wilson’s legendary exploration of African-American life and historical circumstances (also referred to as “The Pittsburg Cycle,” as nine of the plays were set in Wilson’s hometown of Pittsburg) features 10 plays set across 10 decades. The plays begin in the 1900s with an African-American family reeling from the legacy of slavery, and end in the 1990s with a black businessman dealing with the ramifications of gentrification. The plays were premiered, out of historical order, between 1982 and 2005, the year of Wilson’s death from liver cancer.
The plays were recorded in 2013 at WNYC’s Greene Space, as close to 100 theatre artists (including Phylicia Rashad and Taraji P. Henson) gathered for the historic undertaking. The plays were released week-by-week on WNYC, having started on April 26 with the first two installments, “Gem of the Ocean” and “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” (featuring, respectively, Rashad and Henson). The whole series is now up and available for free listen until August 26.
Click here to listen to Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.”