Through April 5
8 p.m., 7 p.m., 2 p.m.
Pittsburgh has been abuzz about a brand new documentary co-produced by WQED that celebrates the life and work of renowned playwright and Pittsburgh native August Wilson. If you missed the film’s national PBS premiere on February 20th, another great way to explore the work of this local hero is at Pittsburgh Public Theater’s (PPT) production of How I Learned What I Learned. Marking the play’s Pittsburgh premiere, How I Learned runs at Downtown’s O’Reilly Theater from March 5 through April 5.
Wilson’s one-man play about coming of age in Pittsburgh–and his final work–How I Learned What I Learned stars stage, film and television actor Eugene Lee. Part of PPT’s 40th anniversary Season of Legends, the work is co-conceived and directed by Todd Kreidler, a Duquesne University graduate, former PPT staffer and author of the Broadway musical, Holler If Ya Hear Me.
Audiences will be transported to Pittsburgh’s Hill District during the pivotal year of 1965. Wilson shares his experiences dropping out of school at age 15 to write poetry, supporting himself by cutting grass and working at local landmarks Klein’s and Kroger’s and even dishing about his girlfriend Snookie. From a near duel at Downtown’s iconic Oyster House and the Christmas pageant in Sister Mary Eldephonse’s seventh grade class to hearing jazz legend John Coltrane at the Crawford Grill, Wilson shares his insights, passions and outrage as he documents the neighborhood and its people.
Born in 1945 in the Hill District, Wilson went on to become the first African American writer to have two plays running simultaneously on Broadway and one of seven American playwrights to win two Pulitzer Prizes.
Don’t miss PPT’s free panel discussion, The Making of a Playwright: August Wilson and Black Horizon Theatre, on March 16 at 7 p.m., which will be moderated by Larry Glasco and Chris Rawson.
The play’s design team includes David Gallo (scenery and projections), Constanza Romero (costumes), Thom Weaver (lighting) and Dan Moses Schreier (sound).