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Jitney Program (2022)

Jitney

By August Wilson
Directed by Mark Clayton Southers

An outdoor production at August Wilson House, 1727 Bedford Avenue in the Lower Hill.
August 12th-September 18th 2022, Thursday-Saturday at 8 PM, and Sunday at 5 PM.

BeckerSala Udin
BoosterJonathan Berry
DoubChuck Timbers
PhilmoreBoykin Anthony
RenaEIexa Hanner
ShealyRoosevelt Watts
YoungbloodRichard McBride
FieldingMike Traylor
TurnboLes Howard

Setting: A worn-down gypsy cab station in Pittsburgh, in early autumn 1977. Jitney runs about 2 hours 45 minutes, including one intermission.

Read our cast interviews here.

About the cast

Dionysius Akeem

Boykin Anthony (Philmore) is a native of Pittsburgh PA. He started his acting career with Kuntu Repertory Theater, under the tutelage of Dr. Lillie. He performed in such plays as Good Black Don’t Crack, Journey of the Spirits, and Among the Best: The Pittsburgh Crawfords and The Homestead Grays. He would later go on to work with other theater companies, like Pittsburgh Playwrights (Ubuntu Holiday), New Horizons (Detroit 67), Damascus (Wine in the Wilderness), and Prime Stage (A Lesson Before Dying). He’s also done a lot of film, television, commercial, and voice over work, and is currently the new voice of Sheetz. He was formerly known as LaMar Darnell Fields.

Jonathan Berry (Booster) is best known for his work at the following Pittsburgh area theater companies: Kuntu Repertory Theatre, New Horizons Theatre, and Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre. He has earned acclaim for powerful performances in the following plays written by Pittsburgh’s own world-renowned, Tony Award-winning playwright, August Wilson: Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney, Gem of the Ocean, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Jonathan is also known for his heartfelt portrayal of a church pastor and his narration of playwright Langston Hughes’s Black Nativity. Jonathan can be seen in the following movies: Enough Is Enough, Lightweight, The Next Three Days, Forlorning, and Cha Cha Real Smooth. Jonathan is absolutely thrilled and he feels honored and privileged to reprise his role as Booster in Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre’s presentation of August Wilson’s Jitney.

EIexa Hanner (Rena) is a Pittsburgh veteran who is proudly representing The School Of Theater of Penn State University as a Musical Theatre alum (MT 21’). She is grateful for the team she has been a part of, for they have all worked so hard to make this production successful and bright. Jitney is such a great show to present to the people of today. Jitney provides the opportunity to learn about black love, Legacy, and the lifestyles of the black community within the 70’s. Credits include: Tick, Tick…Boom! (Susan), The Lucky Boy (MC Gramma), Caroline, Or Change (Washing Machine), Cabaret (Fraulein Schneider), and To Kill a Mockingbird (Helen, U/S Calpurnia). Thanks and Love to: God, Dad, Sisters, Penn State University, and Mark Clayton Southers!! IG: @elexawithane

Les Howard (Turnbo) is an accomplished actor, beginning his acting career many years ago as a member of the former and prestigious D.C. Black Repertory Company, founded by actor Robert Hooks, in Washington, D.C. Les has had many fine performances, here in Pittsburgh, for such theaters as Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Co., New Horizon Theater, Gargaro Productions and the former Kuntu Repertory Theater. Les may be best remembered, previously, as Turnbo in PPTCO’s past highly successful production of August Wilson’s Jitney and as The Great Father in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s critically acclaimed, and award-winning production of A Gathering of Sons, both directed by Mark Clayton Southers. Les also produced and hosted his own local public access variety television show here in Pittsburgh entitled The Howard Entertainment Showcase. Les is thrilled to be reviving his performance of Turnbo in this current production of Jitney.

Richard McBride (Youngblood) is thrilled to be a part of this legendary production of Jitney. He studied Musical Theatre at Point Park University here in Pittsburgh. Richard most recently served as understudy in Pittsburgh Public Theatre’s production of Two Trains Running by August Wilson. Richard was last directed by Mark Southers in Black Theatre Troupe’s production of A Soldier’s Play in Phoenix, Arizona. He is excited to share the stage with these giants in the Wilson world, and is grateful to Mark Southers and Pittsburgh Playwrights for the opportunity to bring Youngblood to life!

Charles E. Timbers Jr. (Doub), better known Chuck, is a member of SAG/AFTRA and has been performing for more than 3 decades in many stage productions here in Pittsburgh and across the country. He is best known for his role as Cutler in the August Wilson play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, for which he received a Best Actor award in Columbus Ohio and was mentioned in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as best supporting actor. Charles has performed with the Pittsburgh Opera in The Summer King: The Josh Gibson Story, the Mendelssohn Choir as narrator in Let My People Go: A Spiritual Journey, the Harriet Tubman story. He has appeared in several movies including The Jacksons: An American Dream as Dr. Hayes. Charles has also appeared with PPTCO in Fences. Charles recently performed with the Sherri Lynn production of The Bold and The Sanctified in Chicago and most recently in the New Horizons production of One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show. He is a board member and affiliate artist of the Demaskus Theater Collective which has a residency with the August Wilson African American Cultural Center and Arts Renaissance Collective. He is grateful to be performing with PPTCO and sharing the stage in this production of Jitney with a cast of talented artists.

Mike Traylor (Fielding) is celebrating 50 years in theatre. Favorite roles include Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Sgt. Waters in A Soldier’s Play, Booth in Top Dog/Underdog, Estragon in Waiting for Godot, Clov in Endgame, Miss Roj in The Colored Museum, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which he also directed, as well as being in eight of the August Wilson plays. Favorite shows as a director include Bug, The Maids, The Sunset Limited, The Amen Corner, Frozen, The Zoo Story, Birdbath, Funnyhouse of a Negro, and The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World. Mike has a B. S. in Theatre from Northern Arizona University, has directed The Wiz and The Lion King for youth, and has written a horror miniseries entitled Lucky Day, which he will also direct. Thanks, Mark!

Sala Udin (Becker), Rob Penny, and August Wilson attended elementary school together in the Lower Hill District and remained life-long friends. It was this friendship that helped to establish the Black Horizon Theatre, where Rob and August first cut their teeth, moving from poetry to playwriting. Mr. Udin played the leading roles in most of the Black Horizon plays during the late ‘60’s and ‘70’s and was asked to play the role of Becker, when August’s first staged play Jitney was mounted in 1982. Sala Udin understudied for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in San Francisco, 1986 and played the role of Sunshine in Melvin Van Peebles’ Ain’t Supposed To Die A Natural Death, and other plays also in San Francisco. Mr. Udin collaborated with Elva Branson in 1993 to resurrect the New Horizon Theatre, where he served for several years as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Udin played the role of Holloway in the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s 1994 production of Two Trains Running, reprising the role for PPTCO’s 2008 production, and Becker in PPTCO’s 2010 production of Jitney. Mr. Udin served for 11 years on Pittsburgh City Council, and in 1996 helped launch the August Wilson Center for African American Culture and has served on its board. He currently serves as a board member for Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Roosevelt Watts (Shealy) is a Louisiana native who resides in Phoenix, Arizona. He considers himself a “Renaissance Man” who expresses himself through painting, graphic design, playwriting, acting and performing, public speaking and event hosting, and professionally as an Instructional Designer. Roosevelt was last seen on stage in Black Theatre Troupe’s production of A Soldier’s Play in 2022 where he met Mark Southers. He has been performing in theatre for 12 years and was inspired to write his own stage plays by learning about August Wilson. Some of the productions he has been honored to be a part of are Black Nativity, Radio Golf, Fences, Tommy J & Sally, Fathers & Other Strangers, Raisin in the Sun, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Entire World, and others. He is honored and humbled to now be a part of Jitney in Pittsburgh, PA with Pittsburgh Playwrights.

Crew

PlaywrightAugust Wilson
DirectorMark Clayton Southers
Production Manager
Stage ManagerShanita Bivins
Sound DesignerBen Cain
Lighting DesignerMax Lasky
Costume DesignerKim Brown
Set Design & ConstructionDiane Melchitzky
Stage Construction AssistantJustin Redden
Scenic PainterDiane Melchitzky
Sound TechnicianShanita Bivins
Lighting TechAshley Southers
PropsAustin Sills
CrewKaleb Delopre

Crew Biographies