It has been too long in coming but, at last, August Wilson’s “Jitney” has made it to Broadway. And “Jitney” is the best play there! This powerful production’s Broadway debut, happening at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on West 47th Street, features an all-star cast that delivers stellar, riveting and engaging performances. The cast includes John Douglas Thompson, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon J. Dirden, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, Andre Holland, Harvy Blanks and Carra Patterson, many of whom have been in a number of Wilson works, and it shows in their passion for the material and their understanding of the greatness of the words and the timelessness of the message.
“Jitney” introduces the audience to a small car service business and the drivers and dispatcher who work there.
Thompson, starring as Becker, is unbelievably powerful in the role. Dirden gives a magnificent, stellar performance as Booster, Becker’s son, who went to prison for murdering his white girlfriend when he was 19 years old, a crime for which he lost 20 years of his life. But Booster lost much more than that, as the audience will soon learn.
Wilson has a gift for giving audiences fully developed, realistic characters, and an extraordinary way of demonstrating how art imitates life. Seeing “Jitney” is a moving experience and will leave you touched, and realizing a very important message: The choices you make in life not only affect you but also affect the lives of family members around you. One decision can have everlasting consequences.
Wilson’s plays are always a lesson for humanity, often filled with humor and recognizable characters. This production is beautifully directed by veteran August Wilson actor and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
The marvelously detailed set by David Gallo and costumes by Toni-Leslie James transport the audience to the 1970s. There are some very strong, memorable moments and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when you go to see them. I found myself in tears a few times and overcome with emotion. By the end of the play I leaped up, applauding loudly with everyone else and shouting out my approval of the perfect performances delivered by this brilliant cast.
Make plans to go and see “Jitney!”
“Jitney” is being presented by the Manhattan Theatre Club in association with John Legend.
For information, visit www.manhattantheatreclub.com.