Manhattan Theatre Club presents the Broadway debut of August Wilson’s play about a group of African-American cab drivers eking out a living in '70s Pittsburgh. Winner of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival. More…
When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from a 20-year prison stint, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed, and the bonds between these men start to come undone. MTC has a long history of co-producing works by this legendary playwright, including 'King Hedley II,' 'Seven Guitars,' and 'The Piano Lesson.' 'Previously produced Off-Broadway, 'Jitney' is the last of Wilson's 'Century Cycle' plays to make it to Broadway, and is directed by Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
In Ruben Santiago-Hudson's hands, 'JItney' has the glittering patina of a masterpiece...Santiago-Hudson may be the most attuned to the sheer music of the playwright's language. Working with an A team of character actors, he mines the script for every bit of lyric beauty and dramatic tension...Thanks to the fine work of this company, 'Jitney' takes its rightful place as one of the most vivid panels in Wilson's mural of 20th-century black America." Full Review
Conversation sings and swings, bends and bounces and hits heaven smack in the clouds, in the glorious new production of August Wilson’s 'Jitney'...Acted by an impeccably tuned ensemble...There’s no way a theatergoer can watch 'Jitney' without feeling the pulsing, defiant aliveness of every character onstage...Conversation becomes performance art, and part of the pleasure of watching this peerless cast is the delight its characters take in listening to the others riffing." Full Review
"MTC, which has co-produced the original New York productions of Wilson's 'King Hedley II,' 'Seven Guitars' and 'The Piano Lesson,' has done itself proud with its Broadway premiere of 'Jitney.' Santiago-Hudson's ensemble cast breathes new life into this play that shows how men live and work, along with their dreams, their hopes and disappointments. With another bravura performance by John Douglas Thompson, as well as fine work from the ensemble, this is a play that must be seen." Full Review
"Actor-turned-director Ruben Santiago-Hudson's natural feel for the plays of August Wilson yields a superb production...It takes considerable skill to conduct the musical movements of Wilson's dialogue with the fluidity achieved here...There's not an actor on the stage who doesn't thoroughly inhabit his or her flavorful character, from their singular speech patterns to their own particular walk or physicality. All of them deserve the highest praise...The result here feels just as revelatory." Full Review
"It’s especially wonderful that we have director Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s authoritative 'Jitney' production of this less-known part of a masterwork...This is a meticulously cast, lovingly observed play...Many of the actors are veterans of Wilson’s storytelling style, experts in the unspooling ways he defines character and plot through grand handfuls of luscious and gritty street poetry...The delights and tragedies in this rich, chatty, eerily mature work remain exquisitely intimate." Full Review
"As portrayed by an excellent ensemble, the characters come to vivid life...As performed by the phenomenal John Douglas Thompson and Brandon J. Dirden, the first act finale ranks among the most memorably riveting scenes I’ve ever witnessed in a theatre...And how fortunate to have Ruben Santiago-Hudson in the director’s chair, a frequent collaborator who recognizes, more than almost anyone else, the universal themes in Wilson’s plays that sing to us all." Full Review
"A remarkable new production...Though the issues are ordinary, the quality of the writing raises them to almost epic proportions....Director Santiago-Hudson has done a masterful job in steering this, the first of the cycle, to its berth on Broadway. He has assembled a miraculously perfect cast for the current outing...'Jitney' is an unheralded masterwork that will stay with me along with a handful of other towering moments in my travels among the theatres of the world." Full Review
"It was rewritten several times before his death in 2005, and it's now close to perfect. And as directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, this is a magnificent production, one of the best shows to be staged this year. The ensemble conveys authenticity and a sparkling vibrancy...The drivers in 'Jitney' have a deep respect for one another and we have a deep respect for them. To generate this kind of empathy is art's highest purpose." Full Review
"Beautifully directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson...Painfully timely, even though it takes place in 1977...While simple descriptions of the characters might sound like cliches or types, in Wilson's hands they are fully dimensional and heartbreakingly real...The production is first-class...The cast is amazing, with John Douglas Thompson the first among equals." Full Review
"A historic, deeply relevant, and beautifully presented production…’Jitney’ is a must-see for its artistic merit as well as the production’s significance…MTC couldn’t have picked a better company to round out Wilson’s Broadway legacy. Tony-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s direction is seamless, and his staging is authentically rooted in Wilson’s casual, yet heightened and highly poetic world.…MTC’s 'Jitney' is a beautiful celebration of Wilson’s legacy." Full Review
"’Jitney’ is a remarkable example of theatre’s ability to shine a light on a slice of life, psychology and personal philosophy and, at the same time, comment on much wider themes in society. Santiago-Hudson, a Wilson expert, draws impeccable performances from his whole team building to a heartrending finale…This makes for a delectable evening that obliges one to wonder how Broadway has missed out on this colorful and unforgettable drama for so long." Full Review
"This superb production at Manhattan Theatre Club was worth the wait...The reunion scene between father and son that ends the first act is both riveting and lacerating...Ensemble acting doesn’t get much better than this...Ruben Santiago-Hudson once again demonstrates his aptitude for Wilson’s work. The play is weakened a bit by its pat ending, but not enough to erase its many strengths...This is a powerful revival of a play well worth seeing." Full Review
"A superbly acted and directed production...Each character has a story to tell, and a full life of faults and wisdom and talents that Wilson presents with humor and empathy...Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson makes the play as lively and funny as it should be...The plot of 'Jitney' does not conclude as artfully as those in Wilson’s later work...But Wilson’s strengths as a portraitist, and his ear for dialogue, are evident from the get-go...'Jitney' feels not just rewarding, but necessary." Full Review
"Much of the acting is extraordinary, particularly the lacerating father and son confrontation that closes the first act...One of Wilson’s great gifts has been locating the poetic and the performative in what strikes the ear as ordinary speech, to lift casual conversation into something more striking and more resonant. Santiago-Hudson, a longtime Wilson adherent as performer and director, has a fine ear for the play’s musicality." Full Review
"'Jitney' may lack the more fully developed structural sophistication of later plays...Fortunately, director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and his A+ ensemble have found a way to make us see past the flaws that tend to creep into even a master craftsman's early works...Thanks to Mr. Santiago-Hudson's well-paced, sensitive direction and the top to bottom excellence of this ensemble, 'Jitney' works as a moving and entertaining collage." Full Review
"A focused and penetrating production directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and featuring an outstanding ensemble cast...Thompson’s physically ailing and earnest Becker contrasts nicely with Dirden’s well-groomed and unapologetic Booster. Great performances are also provided by Michael Potts as the combative Turnbo, Anthony Chisholm as the inebriated Fielding and Keith Randolph Smith as the comparatively tranquil Doub." Full Review
"A superb production under the direction of Ruben Santiago-Hudson, a strong Wilson hand...It’s the work of a young playwright not yet fully in command of his prodigious gifts, yet already confident in voice and in the creation of characters who are as specific to their place and time as they are universal in their flaws, hopes and dreams." Full Review
"A dynamic revival...Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson brings out more humor than Marion McClinton did in his 2000 staging...The more serious moments are equally intense...John Douglas Thompson, one of our best actors in classical roles, turns in his usual stellar work as Becker, skillfully displaying the man’s strength and his heartbreak. Brandon J. Dirden is a worthy opposite as his struggling son Booster." Full Review
“One of the first things that may strike you in watching Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s lovingly directed production of ‘Jitney’ is the joy his company of nine actors seems to bring on stage in performing August Wilson’s masterful comedy drama. It is infectious, but as the play progresses, you may well forget that those are actors up there on stage, so vibrantly real have the people they’re portraying become.” Full Review
"A sterling revival...Wilson’s characters are remarkably vibrant…Hudson is also to be applauded for the remarkable ensemble cast he has assembled and guided. No one stands out because they’re all outstanding...Their banter is organic, laced with laughs and tinged with the struggle of getting through everyday life...Until now, 'Jitney' was the only play in the Century Cycle not to have found its way to the Broadway stage. This splendid production gives it the wholehearted welcome it deserves." Full Review
"A must-see...Under Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s superb direction, the straight line between Becker (the formidable John Douglas Thompson) and Booster (Brandon J. Dirden), the son he has not seen for 20 years is the tough love around which the drivers swirl in syncopated speech...By play’s end, with the wrecking ball of gentrification looming large over this fine-tuned ensemble, you are no more ready to leave the station than 'Jitney’s' drivers are." Full Review
"After only a couple of minutes, I felt like I knew all of these characters and I could've spent all day and all night with them, hearing their stories, and watching their interactions with each other…There was a palpable chemistry, and a crackling energy, to the entire cast…I also laughed. A LOT...I feel like I'm eavesdropping on fascinating lives, and real people, when I'm watching Wilson's plays come to life, and I love that." Full Review
"Lucky for audiences at 'Jitney' that those nine souls onstage are mesmerizingly heartbreaking, passionate, comical, and true...'Jitney' is only as good as its ensemble...To pick out one or two shining stars would do a disservice to the beautiful orchestration of the acting company in this production...There is an authenticity and ease with which the actors flow through the work, including Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s direction, which provides the cast with cohesion, nuance, and clarity." Full Review
"The director, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, magnificently manages an ensemble cast to provide the audience with a detailed study through precise action, which is interspersed with humor and expertly directed comic timing...August Wilson’s eloquence in his words is brought to life through adept directing as well as expert acting. The performances all create the pathos and interest in the lives of the characters, which maintain the interest of the audience." Full Review
"Gold-star production...The present revival is truly a testament to what makes Wilson so damned great...In 'Jitney,' every member of the cast has a moment in the spotlight. And when they get there, they shine. For 'Jitney,' perhaps more than any other Wilson play, is an ensemble piece." Full Review
See it if you are a fan of great theater that tackles historic & universal issues, or a human being who wants to see & celebrate the human condition.
Don't see it if you want fluff.
See it if you enjoy great American playwriting with an emotional punch. The cast is superb and the writing is flawless.
Don't see it if There is no reason not to see it. Unless you don't like drama, and if so, why are you on this site?
See it if You want to see an expertly written character drama that is more character driven than plot driven.
Don't see it if You do not like interesting well developed characters. You need a detailed and exciting plot.
See it if you love theater. We have seen 3 versions and this is the best. My first 100 rating. We have seen all 10 plays in the cycle and Jitney ...
Don't see it if Sorry, I cannot come up with a reaosn to miss this production
See it if you want an incredible set of actors telling an engaging and emotional story set in 1977 Pittsburgh. I'm not doing it justice. See below.
Don't see it if you don't like staged violence. A gun is shown but not used, and the vernacular takes a minute to get an ear for, but that's really it.
See it if You love August Wilson and how his material is still relevant. They rhythm of the language. Must see. All performances are the best!
Don't see it if You are seeking light, entertaining fare. This show makes you think.
See it if You like dramas with a great cast, great staging and written by a true master August Wilson.
Don't see it if You're expecting glitz. This is a drama comedy that deals with real characters trying to make it in the world.
See it if You enjoy August Wilson's work and aren't bothered by profanity. Also if you want to enjoy a night of great theater.
Don't see it if You are offened by the "N" word, they drop it quite a bit. But otherwise, I can't think of a reason not to see it.
See it if Want an excellent ensemble doing justice to a beautifully written play; a poignant portrayal of relationships and race in an uban America
Don't see it if You want happy endings or need resolution of relationships in plots.
See it if If you are a lover of All-Things-August-Wilson. The audience gave it a 10 minute standing ovation. Need I say more?
Don't see it if There is no real reason to not see this production. It was wonderful!!!
See it if you truly enjoy August Wilson's writing or just have an affection for great plays. This is truly one that should not be missed.
Don't see it if If you are not a fan of plays or do not care for intricate writing or are in the mood for something light hearted.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies