Court Theatre’s Jitney Opens
September 28, 2012 11:47 AM
Jitney, August Wilson’s 1970s installment of his Century Cycle of 10 plays, each set in a different decade of the 20th century, opened Court Theatre’s 2012–13 season. Jitney chronicles the struggles of a gypsy cab business run and used by African Americans in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, where August Wilson lived as a child. Plans for urban renewal mean looming eviction and require a decision to fight for the right to stay or to move on. Some of Chicago’s best actors bring forceful characters to life as they battle city hall and each other, sometimes violently.
The DuSable Museum of African American History opened an exhibit about the production. Other activities related to Court Theatre’s production of Jitney and August Wilson include symposia at the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and an essay contest for local high school students. The essay contest will be held in October, with winners to be announced in January.
Joyce Foundation funding contributed to the establishment of a permanent position as resident artist for noted African American director Ron OJ Parson. In addition to Jitney, Parson’s successful runs in previous seasons included several installments of August Wilson’s work, including Fences, The Piano Lesson, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. With Joyce funding, Court Theatre will commission and develop projects that have the potential add to the classical theatrical canon with significant new work from a variety of cultural voices.
The Joyce Foundation Culture Program supports Chicago culture by partnering with arts organizations to diversify program offerings, support artists’ commissions, and maintain staff and board leadership to engage audiences. We works to improve communities through the arts, support art that reflects the community, and make art accessible to diverse audiences.
Chicago Tribune THEATER REVIEW: "Jitney" at Court Theatre ★★★½
Chicago Sun-Times: "At Court Theatre, ‘Jitney’ moves to a stirring set of rhythms"