Denzel Washington to bring celebrated ex-St. Paul playwright's work to HBO


The works of a double Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, several of which were written when he lived in St. Paul, will be immortalized on HBO in a series produced by Denzel Washington.

IndieWire reports that August Wilson's 10 plays that make up his American Century Cycle series will be shown once a year over the next 10 years on the respected pay-TV channel, Washington revealed Friday.

The series chronicles the African American experience in the United States in the 20th Century, with each play being set in a different decade.

All but two of his plays featured on Broadway, according to The New York Times, and two of them won the Pulitzer Price for Drama, including "Fences," which he wrote during his 12-year spell living in St. Paul.

Washington is already set to star and direct in a film version of "Fences" alongside Viola Davis, and coupled with the HBO deal it will bring Wilson's work to a mass audience.

Although 9 of his 10 plays were set in his hometown of Pittsburgh (the other is in Chicago), the Star Tribune previously reported that Wilson wrote his most celebrated works while living in the Twin Cities, with "Fences" joined by "Two Trains Running" and "The Piano Lesson."

Twin Cities director Marion McClinton told the newspaper at the time that St. Paul provided the inspiration for the cycle, saying: "He loved a neighborhood-driven city like St. Paul, which was much like Pittsburgh, but without the racism. It was easier for him to maneuver here."

After winning the Pulitzer for "Fences," St. Paul declared Aug. 25, 1987 "August Wilson Day" in celebration, according to the August Wilson Theatre website. He left St. Paul for Seattle in 1990.

You can find a full list and brief synopsis of Wilson's American Century Cycle series here, courtesy of the Associated Press.

Wilson died in October 2005 from liver cancer.

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