Chris Rawson | Actors talk August interview series

Chris Rawson | Actors talk August interview series

August Wilson and Chris Rawson. Kennedy Center, Nov. 13, 1991. Photo by Carol Pratt.

When interviewed in 2017 for a series on critics reflecting on criticism, ATCA historian, twice ExCom chair, new play prize champion, and Theatre Hall of Fame board member Chris Rawson spoke about the proudest moments of his illustrious critical career. These moments, as he relayed the stories, all seemed to involve time with August Wilson.

Rawson became a theater critic in Pittsburgh in 1983, covered Wilson’s 1984 Broadway debut (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), and the two Pittsburghers met outside the theater. Rawson reflected in the cited 2017 interview that he decided to break conventional critical distance in this case. “I kept my distance for some years, as we as critics are told we should do, and then I reasoned I had this opportunity to get to know one of the four or five greatest American playwrights, so I said the hell with objectivity, and we became friends.”

Rawson has served the Wilson legacy in myriad ways: traveling around the country to see Wilson’s plays, co-writing a book on Wilson’s Pittsburgh context, leading a program honoring the theaters who have completed the 10-play cycle, and serving on the board of directors of August Wilson House, Wilson’s childhood home,

And now, Rawson has added a podcast series, or web series of interviews, to his celebration of the Wilson legacy. Since October, 2020, Rawson has been extending his love for August Wilson in conversations with actors who are part of the Wilson legacy themselves. Beginning on October 19, 2020 and (for the most part) twice a month since, Actors Talk August sponsored by the August Wilson House hosts short interviews hosted by Rawson focusing on the art and artistry and human stories behind working on the plays of August Wilson and thoughts on the man and his art.

The entire series to date can be accessed at this link — all past episodes are available in the list at the bottom of the page. You’ll be asked to register then you’ll be taken to a page where you can listen on your own schedule.

We are indebted to our colleague Chris Rawson for capturing the passion and artistry in these conversations.

session 1: October 19, 2020. Wali Jamal and Eugene Lee.
session 2: November 2, 2020. Montae Russsell.
session 3: November 16, 2020. Mark Clayton Southers.
session 4: December 7, 2020. Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
session 5: January 4, 2021. Eileen J. Morris.
session 6: January 18, 2021. Stephen McKinley Henderson.
session 7: February 1, 2021. Phylicia Rashad.
session 8: February 15, 2021. Todd Kreidler.
session 9: March 1, 2021. LeLand Gantt.
session 10: March 15, 2021. Derrick Sanders.
session 11: April 5, 2021. Yvette Ganier.
session 12: April 19, 2021. James Williams.

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