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Classic Theatre tackles a classic stage production at an iconic venue

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City of San Antonio
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The Classic Theatre plans a production of "Fences," a Pulitzer Prize-winning play next month, at the Carver Community Cultural Center.

The play was first staged in New York. James Earl Jones was in the original Broadway play. It has also won a Tony Award.

“[It] is really a cornerstone of the African-American experience in theater onstage in America,” said the Theatre's Jimmy Moore. “It is the story of Troy Maxson, a father and husband who had been a star in the Negro Leagues in the 30s and 40s.”

Only white men were allowed to play in Major League Baseball in those decades. Black players had to play in separate games.

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Tyson Price
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Tyson Price, who plays Cory Maxon

It’s really the story of what happens when a dream is deferred. And the entire plot revolves around whether Troy is going to be able to overcome the trauma that he experiences in his early life in order to keep and support his wife and son,” Moore added.

The 1986 production is set in the 1950s, and while the drama is about a Black baseball player, Moore felt its themes speak to everyone.

“The play has been very, very popular from the beginning, and I think it’s because it speaks directly to the themes of the Black experience in America, but these are absolutely universal. It is about a father and a son, a husband and his wife," he explained.

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Nerryl Williams
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Nerryl Williams, who plays Rose Maxon

The production itself is historic.

“This show features an entirely Black cast. It has a Black director, Antoinette Winstead, who is a major force in our theatrical community,” he said. “And she was saying last night during a talk-back during DreamWeek that she feels that this show is even more relevant today than it was 20 years ago.”

Even the venue is historic.

“We’re partnering with the Carver Community Cultural Center to do this show in their small black box space, which is a really wonderful intimate venue to be able to experience this story,” Moore said. “It’s also an extremely culturally rich and historically important campus for San Antonio.”

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Naybu Fullman
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Naybu Fullman, who plays Troy Maxon

Moore said that Fences is one of the standout theatrical productions for the last several decades.

“I think its popularity has resulted from the fact that everybody can see themselves in this show, and everybody will understand what these characters are going through,” he said.

Performances begin on Feb. 9. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, the Carver box office, or at classictheatre.org.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii