August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations.
Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis.
Brandon J. Dirden, who plays Booster in the two-act play, has performed in several August Wilson productions and directed Seven Guitars:
"It is a tremendous legacy, and to be apart of that, I would describe it as a bucket list item. When August passed eleven years ago, I don't think any actor could have dreamed that they would be making a splash on Broadway with an August Wilson debut. I think there is so much excitement around Jitney, and deserved excitement, not because of any one person in the cast, but because August has earned the level of excitement just through his consistent quality and superior writing."
Dirden has a long working relationship with Jitney director Ruben Santiago-Hudson:
"The thing about working for Ruben again and again, is each time gets you ready for the next time. I'm grateful to Ruben, not just for casting me, but also for teaching me. Every time I work with him, I know I'm a better actor."
Dirden says Booster has admirable qualities despite his complex relationship with his father Becker, who is the owner of the cab station:
"The history we learn of Booster certainly is not unlike someone like Barack Obama and Colin Powell or these other great leaders."
Click above to hear Doug Doyle's interview with WBGO fan Brandon J. Dirden.