Closed 2h 25m
August Wilson’s Jitney (Broadway)
Midtown W
90

August Wilson’s Jitney (Broadway) NYC Reviews and Tickets

90%
(385 Reviews)
Positive
98%
Mixed
2%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Masterful, Thought-provoking

About the Show

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.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (385)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
75
Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Relevant, Clunky

See it if JITNEY has great strengths and weaknesses. It is a lively slice-of-inner city life in the 70s. Well acted and staged. Many men, one woman.

Don't see it if Two of the main conflicts--father/son and lovers--felt forced. Some of the dialogue and situations are clunky. Still, an important piece.

92
Absorbing, Riveting, Masterful, Great acting

See it if You want to see stellar acting. I was completely absorbed throughout. The ensemble was stellar in this well staged work. Highly recommend!

Don't see it if Heavier dramas are not your thing or if you don't like character driven works. You are not a fan of August Wilson plays.

Critic Reviews (54)

January 19th, 2017

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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"A soul-sustaining, symphonic piece by a late, great master, about fathers and sons, workers and their dreams—deliverance for audiences hungry for soaring language and tough truths. Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson steers a powerhouse cast through the dense alleyways and along the majestic avenues of Wilson’s language...It’s not driven by plot so much as the impulses and chemistry of the characters. And they have been incarnated to perfection by a great group."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"The skills Wilson always possessed are jammed up against those he acquired with experience and distance. Santiago-Hudson’s staging tries to honor both, but is limited by the patchwork text...These feints at a kind of plot-by-collage keep devolving into sitcomery; the speeches that later in Wilson’s career would achieve a kind of oracular magnificence too often feel like filler...If in 'Jitney' we see the marks of Wilson’s ambition but not yet the payoff, that only makes it more valuable."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"By turns hilarious and devastating, this is an emotionally bruising gem of a play...Wilson’s dialogue captures the cadences of the day in a manner both timely and timeless...The talented cast soars under the confident direction of Tony-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson...From the stellar performances to the sharp script, 'Jitney' is a substantial piece, and a breath of fresh air to boot."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"One of Wilson’s best plays...As one of his most realistic plays, 'Jitney' is filled with sharply observed characters who don’t immediately reveal themselves to the naked eye...His heartfelt feelings for his characters made Wilson a master of the ensemble play structure, which lives and dies on the human comedy of its characters...Under Santiago-Hudson’s sure hand, you can’t help but relish the performances."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"Wilson’s play is so disciplined, so full of distinctive voices with their own pungent passions and fears, and so meticulously brought to life by a taut ensemble feelingly directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson that we fully accept this world as it is given to us in this production...By great good fortune it is also possible to see the same thing happen right now in Denzel Washington’s filmed version of 'Fences.' Neither should be missed."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"August Wilson’s 'Jitney' delivers a gripping ride...These conversations pack poetry and punch — along with humor and truth — so we get to know the characters and feel for them...Ruben Santiago-Hudson directs the atmospheric production and fine-tuned ensemble...'Jitney' is the last of Wilson's 10-play series about black life in America to reach Broadway. It still gives a lift in the age of Uber."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"Thoughtful and heartrending production...A deeply satisfying drama that leaves us grappling with these issues as they pertain to the present day...Unfortunately, Dirden is miscast, appearing entirely too comfortable and hale for a man who has just been released from two decades behind bars...Luckily, great performances outnumber mediocre ones in this stellar revival, which has been directed with loving attention to detail by Ruben Santiago-Hudson."
Read more

January 20th, 2017

"A superb production filled with funk, grit, humor and some positively thrilling acting…It's the final moments of the first act that display the thrilling dramatic fireworks…Wilson's dialogue displays a keen ear for the evolving musicality of language in the district…While ‘Jitney's’ impact may not reach the magnitude of Wilson's zenith, ‘Fences,’ or outstanding work like ‘Ma Rainey's Black Bottom,' this compelling production is continually engaging and thick with humor and emotion."
Read more

January 23rd, 2017

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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"The story and the relationships do not rivet because of their facts...There's a faint but detectable maudlin streak that becomes more manipulative than Wilson dared get in his later works...Little of this matters because the men won't let even a flimsy structure crumble. Together they form a magnetic bond you can feel emanating from the stage, and, under the capable direction of Ruben Santiago-Hudson, have the properly melodic way with Wilson's epically musical downscale dialogue."
Read more

February 2nd, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 20th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"'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."
Read more

January 25th, 2017

"’Jitney’ has moments that are transcendent…Where I was riveted were the two major confrontations–one between Becker and Booster and the other between Youngblood and Rena. Not only were the performances spot-on, but Wilson digs deep…As to the overall piece, it felt a bit disjointed on the one hand and predictable on the other. There were no real surprises for me, although I have to admit that I was in the minority because this audience was vocal in their response.”
Read more

January 24th, 2017

“It’s a stellar production showcasing the intricate and poetic artistry of Wilson’s writing. It equally rings true and authentic to the time and place...The ensemble works together like a well-tuned old car. All are given their moments to shine and resonate…Directed excellently by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, it plays with our soul like a world-class band of jazz musicians, giving all different kinds of melodies and shades of emotions, pulling it all together in the end in one miraculous performance."
Read more

January 27th, 2017

"This is the kind of ensemble that doesn’t need to be dissected: universally superb, it’s a cast full of clearly well-seasoned Wilson players, one through which the rhythmic nature of Wilson's language pulses freely. And like improvised jazz, the play never gets overly structured, giving each major character a chance to take a solo..."Despite the supremely difficult truths that the play illustrates...it is entirely built on an unwavering compassion for the beauty in its characters."
Read more

T
January 30th, 2017

"The direction, by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, as well as his cast, are pitch perfect...I thoroughly enjoyed spending two and a half hours with this working-class gang, so touchingly and honestly just trying to make a living. Not to mention just listening to August Wilson’s unique and flavorful dialogue...This is Pittsburgh poetry, August Wilson style, and it is very fine indeed."
Read more

January 22nd, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 27th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

“The plotline has the familiar scent of socially oriented melodrama: the city plans to board up the place and build something else, thus depriving the struggling drivers of their livelihoods. The righteous boss, Becker (John Douglas Thompson), has a plan to fight back, thus giving the play a structural framework, but the real interest is in the intensely vivid characters, their electric, richly accented language, replete with aria-like speeches, and their emotionally fraught relationships.”
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"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."
Read more

B
January 22nd, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"Santiago-Hudson has become one of the surest practitioners of Wilson’s art. Perhaps due in part to his acting life, Santiago-Hudson helps his cast—each and every one—bring out the richness in the characters...An excellent production of an intriguing play, overflowing with that incomparable language of the master. But the script itself, as rich as it is in performance, is not quite an American classic and not quite up to the other nine plays."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"A powerful, if uneven, new staging...Thompson’s remarkable performance makes us feel every ounce of his burden...Dirden is more the returning college professor than a trapped man just released...Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s direction doesn’t completely conceal the play’s flaws. He does, however, expose its brilliance, with a good ear for Wilson’s sly, deprecating humor...He keeps 'Jitney' running on all cylinders despite a few bumps in writing and performance."
Read more

January 23rd, 2017

"A powerful revival...The men are an odd assortment, and we are made aware of how difficult life is and the obstacles that block paths toward fulfillment...The cast picks up the rhythm of Wilson’s dialogue and speech patterns, with each actor doing a superb job...One can walk away feeling one knows these struggling men with vivid mental pictures of them. Wilson’s poignant, well-conceived play is getting the fresh staging it deserves."
Read more

T
January 21st, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 26th, 2017

"None of Wilson’s plays are perfect and 'Jitney' is no exception. Wilson didn’t strive for a perfect, jewel-like clarity. He was about sprawl and humanity...This is a strong ensemble in the capable hands of director Ruben Santiago-Hudson...The Act One finale where Becker and his son Booster confront each other is one of the most magnetic and compelling scenes I’ve witnessed in a long time."
Read more

January 23rd, 2017

"Manhattan Theatre Club’s beautifully realized production finds hope in Wilson’s detailed portraits of men so often marginalized and rarely represented with such loving detail...Under the direction of Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the ensemble functions as a family of sorts, and the play a kind of variation on a living room drama...With the added perspective of 30-some years, the heart of the play’s central metaphor is as resonant now as ever."
Read more

January 20th, 2017

"Bears the imprint of a young playwright who hadn’t fully found his voice. There are moments of melodrama and sentimentality that seem borrowed from a common dramatic shelf. However, the play also has qualities found later in Wilson’s best work, especially a vibrant awareness of the community he was writing about: its residents, their relationships and the flavorful stories they tell...'Jitney' is not a great work, but it's a vivid signpost to the more significant plays that followed."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"An artful and melodic staging directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson...The marvelous Thompson is dignified, but not unyielding...Michael Potts is a firecracker as Turnbo...Stage vets Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm and Ray Anthony Thomas provide strong support...Wilson’s vehicle is a group of men driving second-class cars, but tired of being treated like second-class citizens. The MTC's ensemble does a glorious job bringing home that message."
Read more

February 1st, 2017

“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.”
Read more

January 23rd, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 23rd, 2017

"Wilson’s language is rich and the characters are deftly drawn...As directed by Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the production starts with a mimed sequence in which various characters are introduced, and then it launches into chatter about the characters’ jagged pasts and uncertain futures. The result may not have the dramatic heft of 'Fences,' but it’s aiming for something more ambient and achieves it thanks to a committed cast."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s at times over-bright production saunters to a jazz score with the voices of colourful characters who reminisce, gossip, and argue...The production drifts into slack sitcom broadness at times (still a pleasure with Wilson’s delightful characters) and a few melodramatic tableaux moments. But when the storytelling gets personal the production sharpens and offers a platform for moving, memorable performances."
Read more

W
January 21st, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 24th, 2017

"Wilson does not judge; he lets his characters do that as they contemplate each other's actions. Moral complexity is part of the depth and density of his writing: He provides completed life stories but no facile answers. That depth and density comes out vividly in Ruben Santiago-Hudson's production. Every role is fulfilled handsomely and inventively...'Jitney' follows the unruly, unpredictable, inexplicable patterns of life."
Read more

January 24th, 2017

"A powerful debut on Broadway with a superb ensemble cast…It is August Wilson’s florid, slang-riddled soliloquies that give 'Jitney' its heart and soul. Although it takes a while for audiences to catch up with the show’s rapid-fire rhythm in the first act, one is soon riveted to every word each character utters…This is a brilliant production of a story that, although set in 1977, has enough timeless appeal and human themes to more than ring true in 2017."
Read more

January 22nd, 2017

"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."
Read more

E
February 8th, 2017

"Another vibrant chapter in Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle is receiving its long overdue debut on Broadway...Director Santiago-Hudson, who has himself acted in several of Wilson’s plays, understands the pace of the play perfectly. Neither rushed nor sluggish, 'Jitney' moves at a clip that allows its plot, and its characters’ arias, to rise organically from the rhythms and routines of everyday life. The actors vibrantly assert their individuality while contributing to the larger mosaic."
Read more

January 25th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 20th, 2017

"’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."
Read more

February 24th, 2017

"Not as fully a realized piece in a socio-political sense as, say, 'The Piano Lesson.' Further, the concluding two scenes feel rushed. Nonetheless, the play has many pleasures...Dirden and Thompson give as startling and unvarnished performance as any that can be found on Broadway right now...Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson keeps the direction of the two-hander scenes – the heart and soul of the play – crisp and energized...'Jitney' earns its place in the canon."
Read more

January 23rd, 2017

"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."
Read more

February 16th, 2017

"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."
Read more

January 23rd, 2017

"A splendid, feisty production directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson...There is passion, too, and painful loss, which is to say this is a full-blooded August Wilson play, realized with professional skill and heartfelt zest...Inevitably I can quibble with some of Mr. Santiago-Hudson’s casting...That said, Brandon Dirden is as good a Booster as I’ve seen, going toe-to-toe with John Douglas Thompson’s Becker in their central scene."
Read more

January 19th, 2017

"Directed with nuance by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and featuring a stellar ensemble...'Jitney' is full of rich, flawed human characters whom Wilson treats with compassion and empathy...The highlight of 'Jitney' is the tense reunion between Becker and Booster that here becomes powerful and explosive in the hands of two superb actors...Santiago-Hudson has proven himself perhaps the foremost expert at present in capturing Wilson's aesthetic."
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

Score it Buy
Unreviewed
Opens Oct 21
NYC: Midtown W

Winnie the Pooh and friends embark on fun adventures, in this new musical with life-size puppets.

Buy
88
Excellent
47 Reviews
Opens Dec 20
NYC: Midtown W

A hit in London, Sondheim's classic musical (with a new twist), stars Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone.

Buy
Score it Buy
Unreviewed
Opens Jun 22
NYC: West Village

Seven world premiere short plays by seven well-known playwrights in NYC's Meatpacking District.

Buy