LENOX, Mass. – Casting has been announced for August Wilson’s Fences at Shakespeare & Company, directed by Christopher V. Edwards and staged July 22 through August 27, with Opening Night on Thursday, July 27 at the Tina Packer Playhouse.

A moving study of emotional depth and the human condition, August Wilson’s Fences follows the story of Troy Maxson – a working-class Black man struggling to provide for his family. His past includes the low of a prison sentence and the high of a promising career with the Negro Baseball League, but it’s Troy’s unrealized dream to play for Major League Baseball that fills his days with resentment and regret.August Wilson’s Fences, winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play in 1987, is set in the 1950s and is part of the playwright’s acclaimed American Century Cycle.Generously sponsored by Natalie and Howard Shawn,

August Wilson’s Fences will be shown at the Tina Packer Playhouse with tickets ranging from $22 to $72; preview performances are $10 less and student tickets are $22. To purchase tickets, via shakespeare.org, or call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353.

The 46th Season’s cast of August Wilson’s Fences features:

Ella Joyce (she / her) (Rose)Regional Theatre has earned her many awards and citations for her work. Credits include: Having Our Say (Goodman Theatre), August Wilson’s King Hedley II at The Matrix (Los Angeles Ovation Award; LA Drama Critics Circle Nomination for the role of Ruby). Ella also played Tonya in the original production of King Hedley II at the opening of the O’Reilly Pittsburg Public Theater, with Tony Todd. Ella originated the role of Risa in Two Trains Running directed by Lloyd Richards at Yale Rep. She also originated the role of Lily Ann Green in Lynne Nottage’s Crumbs From the Table Of Joy at Second Stage Theater (NYC) directed by Joe Morton, at South Coast Rep (CA), and at The Goodman Theater (Chicago) earning both a JEFFERSON AWARD and a BLACK THEATER ALLIANCE Award for the role. As a Beinecke Fellow at Yale Rep School Of Drama, Ella performed in Bossa Nova by Kirsten Greenidge which she also originated at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Utah, and at Yale Rep. She is an original founding member of The National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, and has performed as a favorite at that festival for years. She performed with Ruby Dee at the Bermuda Arts Festival in Ron Milner’s Checkmates, directed by Woodie King, Jr. Last season, Ella performed in Fences at The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival alongside Tony Todd. Ella recently closed at The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles to wonderful reviews in The First Deep Breath. Her love of theater has taken her to many regional theaters across the country, and overseas. Ella is affectionately known for her role of “Eleanor” in the family sitcom Roc. Other select TV and film roles include My Wife and Kids, The Jamie Foxx Show, Seinfeld, Eve, Being Mary Jane, Tyler Perry‘s Temptation, Preacher’s Kid, Lucky Girl, Bubba Ho-Tep, Set It Off, Selma, Lord Selma, Nina, Catfish Christmas, Holiday Hideaway, Haus Of Vicious, and the MTV Award-winning TLC Waterfalls video. As a talented voiceover artist, she is heard on Audible Books-on-tape: Ron Milner’s Ruby McCollum Story, portraying the voice of Zora Neal Hurston produced by Susan Lowenberg’s Los Angeles Theater Works, and BET’s Storyporch children reading series.

“ranney” (Troy Maxson)“ranney” has five decades in the performing arts as a multi-disciplinarian. Acting credits include Doaker (The Piano Lesson, A Public Fit Theatre Company); Brucie (Sweat, Ensemble Theatre Company); Benny, Mark (Hymn, Art, Shakespeare & Company); Polonius/Gravedigger, Toledo, Troy Maxson (Hamlet; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Fences. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company); Hambone, Sterling (Two Trains Running; Radio Golf. American Stage Company.); King Hedley, Chutes & Ladders (Seven Guitars; Water By the Spoonful. Nevada Conservatory Theatre); Boy Willie (The Piano Lesson. Center Theatre Co.); Adriana/Antipholis/others (The Bomb-itty of Errors. American Stage, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Helix in Dublin, Ireland, and Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End). As a comedian, he has headlined internationally and shared billing with Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock, and Paul Mooney. Nine one man shows include And the Horse You Rode In On (Projects Arts Centre, Dublin), Whatever (People’s Improv Theater, NY), Incendiary (The Straz Center, Tampa), and Cuffiinks and Jolly Ranchers for Dummies (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland).

 Brian D. Coats (Gabriel)Coats has appeared in August Wilson’s Jitney on Broadway (National Tour): Off-Broadway shows include The Best We Could (Manhattan Theatre Club), La Ruta(Working Theater), The First Noel (Classical Theatre of Harlem/The Apollo), On the Levee (Lincoln Center), The Merry Wives of Windsor, Two Gentlemen of Verona (Public/ NYSF). Regional includes: The West End (Cincinnati Playhouse), Two Trains Running(Pittsburgh Public), Ghosts of the Diaspora (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Royale (Cleveland Play House), The Nest (Denver Center Theatre), The Bluest Eye (Huntington), Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (Huntington Theater, Studio Theatre DC), King Hedley II, Seven Guitars, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Two River Theater), Fences, A Raisin in the Sun (Geva Theater), Distant Fires (People’s Light and Theater), Clybourne Park (Caldwell Theatre), The Wedding Gift, pen/man/ship (Contemporary American Theatre Fest), Count (PlayMakers Rep). TV includes: “Queens”, “FBI”, “Law & Order”, “Law & Order: SVU”, “JAG”, “Blue Bloods”, “The Sopranos”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “Luke Cage”, and “The Blacklist”.

L. James (he / him) (Lyons)James has appeared in The Contention (Henry VI, Part II), Art. TV/Film Credits include Law & Order, Zombie Wedding, and FBI. Theater Credits: Backwards Forwards KCAB, The Agitators, Sender, Intimate Apparel, Hamlet, Sweat, The MotherF@cker with the Hat, Threepenny Opera, and Angels in America.

Jāquan Malik Jones (he / him) (Corey) Mailk’s roles include: Trinity Rep: By The Queen Brown/Trinity Rep: Siya, Soul Tapes, Somebody 1/Kinship/Strength/All The Shitty Evil Things You’ve Done to the World and Other People, Everybody. Other Theaters: Booth, TopDog/UnderDog; Citizen Barlow, August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean; Norfolk State University. JāQuan Malik Jones is an artist who is passionate about the black diaspora, which is entrenched in his coastal southeastern culture. Quan was born and reared in the city of Chesapeake in South Norfolk, Virginia. Quan is all about telling stories that are deeply founded in his own lived experiences, whether he is on stage, in front of the camera, or behind the camera. Quan is completely committed to passing it on and helping people through his art. JāQuan is an actor, writer, and creator who is currently pursuing his M.F.A. in acting at Brown University’s Trinity Repertory M.F.A. programs in Acting and Directing. Quan is the co-creator, writer, and producer of BILLIARDS, his signature body of work. 

Ashley Macaulay Moore (she / her) (Raynell)Moore is a union actor originally from North Carolina, by way of Los Angeles CA. She is currently a second-year student at the FSU/Asolo Acting Conservatory obtaining her master’s in fine arts. Ashley has performed in a variety of stage plays and television shows. She has recently appeared in plays such as Three Musketeers Constance, Chicken & Biscuits Latrice (U/S). Ashley has worked for television networks such as Disney, ABC, and Netflix just to name a few. She is set to perform in the conservatory season productions of Three Sisters, Clyde’s, and Romeo & Juliet. Ashley is committed to the craft of acting and truthful storytelling, her mission with every role is to have a human experience that gives the viewer a chance to live again.

Kenneth Ransom (he/him) (Bono)Ransom is an international actor and teacher with over 30 years of experience in theater, film, television, and streaming platforms. He is delighted to return to Shakespeare & Company, where he trained with eminent teachers, including co-founders Kristin Linklater and Tina Packer, and where he performed in some of his first professional productions, including As You Like It with Karen Allen, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors. Film credits include his critically acclaimed turn in Gods of Egypt (as the Sphinx) with the late Chadwick Boseman; Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course with Steve Irwin; Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles with Paul Hogan and several Australian television dramas, including The Heights, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End and the Secret Life of Us. On Stage, Kenneth collaborated with Mary Zimmerman on her Australian production of Metamorphoses and Dr. Wang Xiaoying of the National Theatre of China on his production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle. He has worked for The Mark Taper Forum, Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare (Sydney), and every major festival in Australia, as well as the Daegu International Music Festival in Korea. Kenneth is a member of Actors Equity, SAG/AFTRA, and Australian Equity.

Christopher V. Edwards (Director)

Edwards is excited to be back at Shakespeare & Company. He is the Artistic Director of Actors’ Shakespeare Project (ASP) in Boston. Recent directing credits include: How I Learned What I Learned at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival; ART at Shakespeare & Company; Let the Right One In, The Bomb-itty of Errors, Pride & Prejudice, Equivocation, Much Ado About Nothing at ASP in Boston; How to Break at the National Theatre of Norway; Hamlet at Gloucester Stage in MA; Fences, A Raisin in the Sun, Othello at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company; Venus in Fur, Water by the Spoonful, As You Like It at Nevada Conservatory Theatre in Las Vegas; Othello, The Three Musketeers, Romeo and Juliet at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in NY. Chris has performed in London’s West End, Off-Broadway, in Regional Theatres and Internationally. He is a Senior Lecturer at the BU School of Theatre and has been a distinguished artist and consultant with The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and a consultant with the Madison Park Development Corporation in Boston. He lives in Jamaica Plain with his wife and daughter, Jennifer and Anya.

August Wilson (Playwright)

[April 27, 1945 – October 2, 2005] authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African-Americans, decade by decade, over the course of the twentieth century. His plays have been professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Mr. Wilson’s works garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987); and for The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney; as well as eight New York Drama Critics Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney, and Radio Golf. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson’s early works include the one-acts The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming, and the musical satire Black Bard and the Sacred Hills. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwrighting, the Whiting Writers Award, 2003 Heinz Award, was awarded a 1999 National Humanities Medal by the President of the United States, and received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and on October 16, 2005, Broadway renamed the theater located at 245 West 52nd Street – The August Wilson Theatre. Additionally, Mr. Wilson was posthumously inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2007. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and lived in Seattle, Washington at the time of death. He is immediately survived by his two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero.

About Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare & Company was founded in 1978 by Tina Packer. Located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Company offers performance, education, and actor-training opportunities year-round, and attracts more than 40,000 patrons annually with a core of more than 150 artists.

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