Denzel Washington will attend a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 13th.
The August Wilson House host committee has announced the schedule of events for the grand opening celebration on Saturday, Aug. 13, of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s childhood home at 1727 Bedford Ave., in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.
Actor Denzel Washington, a two-time Academy Award winner, will join Constanza Romero Wilson (Wilson’s widow) in delivering welcome remarks beginning at 1:30 p.m. that day.
“August Wilson is one of the greatest playwrights in American history, in world history,” the actor said. “It is a privilege and honor, responsibility and duty, and a joy to be a small part in keeping him alive. I will do everything I can to keep this structure alive and sound and a place for us all to grow.”
Washington will appear at August Wilson House’s media event and Grand Opening ribbon cutting beginning at 1 p.m. The evening VIP event will include performances and several national August Wilson actors.
Born in 1945, Wilson spent the first 13 years living with his mother and five siblings in two rooms (and later four) in the Bedford Avenue dwelling. At the time, a Jewish family ran a small mom-and-pop store in front, and two Italian brothers repaired shoes and watches next door. Although cramped, the house and its yard pulsed with life, and the multiethnic Hill District was one of the nation’s most vibrant Black neighborhoods – with a great Negro League baseball team, jazz music, and coverage of it all by the nationally-distributed Pittsburgh Courier.
- Those experiences shaped Wilson’s life and his plays.
- “I happen to think that the content of my mother’s life — her myths, her superstitions, her prayers, the contents of her pantry, the smell of her kitchen, the song that escaped from her sometimes parched lips, her thoughtful repose and pregnant laughter — are all worthy of art,” Wilson once said.
- After his death in 2005 at the age of 60, Wilson’s nephew Paul Ellis formed the Daisy Wilson Artist Community – named after Wilson’s mother – and took the first steps to stop the decay of the late playwright’s childhood home. The vision for the restored space is to preserve Wilson’s legacy and to be useful to the community through programming, gathering spaces and small artist studios, and fellowships for local and national artists and scholars, among other events.
To commemorate the opening, August Wilson House’s Year of Celebration kicked off in April with the annual August Wilson Birthday Celebration Block Party presented by Dollar Bank and will continue through April 2023 with several special programs and events. Beyond the opening celebration, Pittsburgh Playwright’s Theatre’s production of Wilson’s “Jitney” – directed by Mark Clayton Southers – will take place in the yard at August Wilson House from Aug. 12-Sept. 18. Learn more at pghplaywrights.org/jitney
August Wilson House Grand Opening Timeline: Saturday, Aug. 13
1:30 p.m. – Welcome and remarks by Washington, Romero Wilson, and August Wilson House leadership with the August Wilson Monologue Competition participants’ presentation and Grand Opening Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony .
3 p.m. – VIP house tours
5-8 p.m. – VIP Gala Celebration
Red carpet arrivals, opening remarks by Romero Wilson; Wilsonian actors Russell Hornsby, Stephen McKinley Henderson and others; and August Wilson House leaders. Plus, drinks and food, performances and house tours.
8-11 p.m. – Community house party with dancing and music by UNION featuring Big Phil, Selecta and Blakk Steel. Performances, food, and drinks.
PARKING DETAILS: Parking will be at PPG Paints Arena in LOT A, also known as the “Melody Tent Lot.” The entrance to park is on Centre Avenue near the corner of Crawford Street. There will be shuttles via golf carts and a van moving between August Wilson House and the parking lot throughout the evening.
Tickets are available at AugustWilsonHouseGrandOpening.eventbrite.com