FENCES From Stage to Film – It Only Took 31 Years!
By Nancy Lee Kathan, Artistic Administrator – Prince Theater
The film version of August Wilson’s Fences is a highly-anticipated event in my family.
When I was a graduate student years ago, I had the privilege of working with August on several of his plays, including the 1985 World Premiere production of Fences at the Yale Repertory Theater in New Haven CT. Our production (with the entire cast) transferred to Broadway in 1987 and it went on to become August’s biggest hit. A group of us went to see the Broadway production, and after the curtain, we gathered at the stage door to greet our classmate Courtney B. Vance (he was playing “Cory,” the son). Later that June we held a Tony-Awards-watching party and cheered through the night as Fences went on to win Best Play, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play (James Earl Jones), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play (Mary Alice), and Best Direction of a Play (Lloyd Richards). Courtney Vance was nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play but lost to John Randolph in Broadway Bound (later Courtney married longtime sweetheart – and another classmate – Angela Bassett, so I think he’s fine).
What I especially look forward to in this new film version is Viola Davis’ performance in the role of “Rose.” Rose is one of the best written female roles in American theatrical history, and I think Viola is up to the challenge. I hope that Denzel Washington achieves his dream of adapting all ten of August’s plays for the screen.
FENCES will open Christmas Day at the PFS Roxy Theater!
Get Tickets HERE.