Black Theatre Troupe [Phoenix, Ariz.] to Stage ‘Seven Guitars’

19 Oct
Seven Guitars

Photo credit: Laura Durant

By Mike Downing

Directed by David Hemphill, “Seven Guitars” is slated for production from Oct. 27 – Nov. 12, 2017.

The cast includes Ríco Burton, Calvin J. Worthen, Rapheal Hamilton, Alexis Green, Mike Traylor, Cornelius Williams, Dzifa Kwawu.

Tickets are $38. Call the box office at 602-258-8129 or purchase online here.

The Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center
1333 E. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85034



‘August Wilson Journal’ Contract Signed; Website Creation is Next, followed by Initial Call for Papers

5 Oct

august-wilson-society-logo-jan-2017-1Editorial to be based at Kutztown University, with online component hosted by Pitt’s Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing

Pitt and KU providing financial support

Oct. 5, 2017 – The August Wilson Society, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, and lead editors Michael Downing and David Anderson are pleased to announce that a contract has been signed for the creation and launch of the August Wilson Journal.

Wilson as FencesFunding is in place for three years and a detailed proposal has been approved by the respective parties.

“This represents more than two years of collaboration by literally dozens of people,” said editor-in-chief, Michael Downing. “It’s wonderful to get it up and running.”

“The August Wilson Journal heralds a new era in August Wilson Studies and will fast become the preeminent source for serious critical treatment of Wilson’s rich body of work,” said Dr. Sandra Shannon, Founder and President of The August Wilson Society at Howard University. “The August Wilson Society is proud to partner with Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh in this most worthy endeavor.”

Now that the contract is done, the next step is to build the actual website. Once the infrastructure is in place, the journal will announce a call for papers and begin accepting submissions on an ongoing basis.  The focus of this open-access, peer-reviewed journal will be material related to the life and work of Pittsburgh-born playwright August Wilson, including literary analyses, biographical research, historical research, interviews with actors & directors, bibliography, notes, and book reviews.

Dr. Andrew Vogel, chair of the Kutztown University English Department, said that the English Department of Kutztown University is proud to host the editorial component of the August Wilson Journal.  “Wilson is one of America’s great playwrights and deserves to be recognized for his contributions to American culture,” he said.  “This will certainly raise the profile of our English program and will offer opportunities to KU’s English graduate students and interns.  I look forward to exploring ways to get our students involved in this effort.”

Dr. Michael Downing of the KU English Department will assume the role of editor-in-chief, with Dr. David Anderson, formerly of Butler County Community College (30 years), serving as managing editor.

Timothy S. Deliyannides, Director of the Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing and Head of Information Technology at the University of Pittsburgh, will lead the charge on the Pitt side.

The target audience consists of literary scholars, college professors, high school teachers, actors, and directors.

The editorial advisory board will consist of Laurence Glasco, Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh; Alan Nadel, William T. Bryan Chair in American Literature and Culture at the University of Kentucky; Steven Tracy, Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Christopher Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Theater Critic and Instructor of English at the University of Pittsburgh; Sandra G. Shannon, Professor of African American Literature in the Department of English at Howard University; and Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, Associate Professor of Urban Theater and Community Engagement in the Theater Department at Temple University.

Scholars interested in participating, as contributors, readers, editors, should contact editor-in-chief Michael Downing (

Submission guidelines will be announced separately, along with a call for papers.

Honoring Mr. Wilson

2 Oct

August Wilson bwBy Mike Downing

I would like to take a moment to remember this day, October 2, as the day of Mr. Wilson’s passing in 2005.

The NY Times ran an extensive obituary the following day that celebrated his life and works.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s also ran an extensive obit, written by our friend, Christopher Rawson.

May he rest in peace.


ALA CFP 2018

30 Sep

Wilson as FencesThe August Wilson Author Society of the American Literature Association

announces its


for the

29th Annual ALA Conference

May 24-27, 2018

Hyatt Regency San Francisco

5 Embarcadero

San Francisco, CA

Click this link for the official CFP: ALA August Wilson CFP 2018

August Wilson Mural Part Two: Video

15 Aug

20170713_123142By Mike Downing

Here is a link to the short video I took of the August Wilson Mural in the Strip District.  It provides a nice sense of the scale of the project, a scale that is difficult to capture in a single photo.



August Wilson Mural

14 Aug

By Mike Downing

During my trip to Pittsburgh, I was able to visit the Hill District to see the August Wilson Mural, done my Kyle Holbrook and Edward Rawson (and possibly others, as I am told). has created a web page dedicated to the artwork.  My own images appear below.

I also have a video that I’d like to upload.  Will try to post that separately.


Meeting with Richard Kittel

13 Aug


By Mike Downing

During my trip to Western Pennsylvania, I was able to meet with August Wilson’s brother, Rich Kittel.  Rich is interested in publishing his memoirs as they relate to August, so I am in the process of locating a writer and guiding the process.

More on this as it emerges.  Definitely excited to be working with Rich.  Hopefully, we can turn this into a book, somewhere down the road.

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