Starring in the American Stage Theatre production of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” are, from left, Mansoor Najee-ullah, Jemier Jenkins, Fanni Green, Kim Sullivan, Cindy DeLaCruz, Satchel Andre and Bianca Rivera-Irions.
ST. PETERSBURG – Due to high demand, American Stage Theatre Company recently announced the extension of “Joe Turner’s Come & Gone” through Sunday, Feb. 26. The extended run includes six additional performances Feb. 22-26.
Performances are Wednesdays, 7 p.m.; and Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m. Matinees are scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m.
“Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” is the 10th and final installment of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle at American Stage. The production is directed by L. Peter Callender and features a cast of 13 actors, the largest cast within the 10-play cycle. The cast includes familiar faces such as Kim Sullivan, the only actor to have appeared in all 10 American Stage productions, as well as new faces such as 11-year-old Elijah Dixon, a student in American Stage’s educational programming. This production’s central theme is about identity and asking the question, “How do you discover your identity when your heritage has been stolen from you?”
Callender returns to American Stage after directing Wilson’s “Jitney” last season to great critical and commercial success. He is the artistic director of the African-American Shakespeare Company in San Francisco, California, and comes with an impressive résumé of credits ranging from Broadway to work in England, France, and Japan.
“In ‘Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,’ Wilson reminds us all that there is always a place to go where bridges are built, not walls; and tunnels are carved through mountains, and through hardship and pain and loss,” said Callender in a press release.
“As American Stage’s producing artistic director for the past two years, I feel incredibly fortunate to have inherited Wilson’s Century Cycle and to have the opportunity to see it to its conclusion with ‘Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,’ the title rumored to have been August Wilson’s own favorite in the canon,” said Stephanie Gularte.
The epic conclusion of American Stage’s journey through the American Century Cycle is set in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911. Owners Seth and Bertha Holly play host to a makeshift family of people who come to stay – some for days, some longer. Each denizen of the boardinghouse has a different relationship to a past of slavery as well as to the urban present. They include proprietors, an eccentric clairvoyant with a penchant for old country voodoo, a young homeboy up from the South, and a mysterious stranger searching for his wife. One of the most spellbinding and emotionally rich plays in the cycle, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” shines a light on America’s newly freed men and women determined to take their rightful place in a new world.