Historic Tribute to August Wilson

An all-star cast will record the acclaimed playwright's 10-play "Century Cycle" for the first time ever.

August Wilson, Phylicia Rashad and Leslie Uggams join an all-star cast to record his plays. (Getty Images)

“I feel like those of us who were in the same room with him have been honored to bear witness to that, and this is still the beginning of the coining of the appreciation of August Wilson,” she said.

“He was always somewhat of a mentor, but just a friend first,” said actor and playwright Eugene Lee, who starred in the Broadway production of Gem on the Ocean. Some of the best advice he got from Wilson regarding the characters in his first play: ” ‘It’s OK to let them talk,’ and that just freed me from some of the reluctance I might have had in terms of the craft.”

Though Wilson wasn’t a historian, said Santiago-Hudson, he was authentic in his take on 100 years of black life. Of his plays, he said, “They’re little celebrations of African-American culture. They talk about how we did what we did and why we did it that way.”

August Wilson’s American Century Cycle runs Aug. 26 through Sept. 28 at New York Public Radio’s the Greene Space. Tickets are still available for some performances. For more information, click here.

Julia Chance is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based journalist and the author of Sisterfriends: Portraits of Sisterly Love. Follow her on Twitter.