UofL Theatre Arts premiers new season with acclaimed August Wilson drama

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville Theatre Arts kicks off its 2016-17 season with the Pulitzer Prize winning “Fences,” the 1950s entry in August Wilson’s famed “Pittsburgh Cycle,” Sept. 21-25 in Thrust Theater.

    Like all of the “Pittsburgh” plays, “Fences” explores the evolving African-American experience and race relations, among other universal themes. In it, the central character Troy Maxson is a former Negro League homerun king forced into retirement before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1946. A decade later, he struggles as a Pittsburgh garbage man – barely making ends meet. His youngest son, Cory, is a promising high school football star who bears the brunt of the demons that only Troy can see.

    The play won every major prize when it debuted on Broadway in 1987, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and added to its award count during the 2010 Broadway revival starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. A film version of the acclaimed Broadway revival is set to air this December.

    Baron Kelly, director of UofL’s African American Theatre Program, is directing the production. Kelly has acted in half of Wilson’s 10-play cycle in major regional theaters across the U.S. and will draw heavily from those experiences.

    “I wanted to direct this play because I am moved by the complexity and dynamics of black family relationships in the 1950s,” he said. “During that time, choices certain people had to make were limited and sometimes may have seemed socially unacceptable. People like Troy did what they had to do to feed their children and support a family. For example, Troy felt obligated to commit a robbery as a young man.”

    Thrust Theatre is on UofL’s Belknap Campus, 2314 S. Floyd St. All plays start at 8 p.m. with 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for faculty, alumni and seniors and $8 for UofL students. Season tickets are $50. To order tickets or for more information, call the box office at (502) 852-6814 or click here.

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    Niki King
    Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.