Radio Golf: Where Morals and Values Collide with the Truth

Court Theatre opens 64th Season with

August Wilson’s

Radio Golf

Directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson

Featuring James T. Alfred, Allen Gilmore, Ann Joseph,

James Vincent Meredith, and Alfred H. Wilson

August 30 – September 30, 2018

 

Alfred H. Wilson (Elder Joseph Barlow) and Allen Gilmore (Harmond Wilks)

 

The world is continuously changing, and when you have a few savoir-faire individuals who are ambitious enough to try to make it happen, things can be considered good…right? However, at what cost are you willing to give or lose so that a simple dream of reviving your childhood neighborhood can flourish, without bringing strife to the community, which may ultimately force you to question your own beliefs.

 

“Radio Golf” is set in The Hill District, in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1997, and it is the final installment and final work of American playwright August Wilson’s ten-part series called The Century Cycle.

 

The play is based on three ambitious Black real-estate entrepreneurs: Harmond Wilks (Allen Gilmore), the voice of reason in the play, his wife Mame Wilks (Ann Joseph) and their partner Roosevelt Hicks (James Vincent Meredith). Harmond is an Ivy League-educated man who has inherited his father’s real estate company and is also declaring his candidacy to become the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh.

 

The trio wants to bring economic development to the Hill District, which will include two high-rise apartment buildings and several high-end chain stores such as Whole Foods, Starbucks and Barnes and Noble. However, there is only one thing that is stopping their dream of coming true; an old raggedy house at 1839 Wylie that was acquired illegally and sits smack dead in the middle of their plans of demolition.

 

All is well until two unlikely characters from Wilks’ past re-enter his life. Sterling Johnson (James T. Alfred) and Elder Joseph Barlow (Alfred H. Wilson) who may be considered ‘Simple Men’ but they are wise when it comes to their community. They are the heartbeat of Black American consciousness. Their presence alone challenges Harmond’s plans to acquire the building set for demolition, and when his offer of restitution to the owner is refused, it forces Harmond to make things right without wronging anyone. This dilemma causes him to confront either putting the neighborhood’s history at risk or losing the support and financial backing for the project.

 

Wilks comes up with a new-found revelation; however it does not sit well with his savvy wife and business partner Roosevelt Hicks who has an agenda to succeed further if all goes well in their perspective careers. When the two men don’t see eye to eye on how to proceed, things get unfriendly, and the men make a decision that will change their future partnership and their friendship.

 

The Century Cycle was first performed at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut in 2005, made its way to Broadway in 2007, and now the Court Theatre.

 

To some this piece of work is not considered Wilson’s best however, Director Ron OJ Parson brought together some accomplished actors to bring this story of political satire to life. Parson, who continuously shows us why he is one of Chicago’s greatest assets to the theater world, masterfully brought Radio Golf together and provided the vigor and painful truths of deceit to the forefront in Radio Golf.

 

Gilmore and Meredith’s camaraderie is priceless, ranging from a comfortable business relationship to proving their case as to why they think their way is best to improve the community. The community spokesmen of Alfred and Alfred, James T. Alfred and Alfred H. Wilson were truly inspiring in their roles as the less affluent duo of the group whose wisdom speaks volume in the Black Community.

 

Let’s Play “Highly Recommends” that you check out “Radio Golf” about the urban renewal of historically Black neighborhoods, at Court Theatre.

 

The cast includes:

 

James T. Alfred (Sterling Johnson)

Allen Gilmore (Harmond Wilks)

Ann Joseph (Mame Wilks)

James Vincent Meredith (Roosevelt Hicks)

Alfred H. Wilson (Elder Joseph Barlow)

 

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