Spotlight on: "Jitney"

Only one of the plays in August Wilson’s masterful American Century Cycle has never been seen on Broadway—until now.


Set in the early 1970s, August Wilson’s play follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed, and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last.


  • The plays in August Wilson’s 10-part American Century Cycle are each set in a different decade, sketching aspects of the Black experience in America in the 20th century. Jitney takes place in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, and is the last of the 10 plays to make it to Broadway.
  • The title refers to unofficial, unlicensed taxicabs that served Pittsburgh’s Hill District in the 1970s, when licensed cabs refused to serve the area. Wilson attended the play’s 1982 premiere with his mother—arriving by jitney.


Jitney was first produced at the Allegheny Repertory Theatre in Pittsburgh in 1982, and then at Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota. A revised version debuted at the Pittsburgh Public Theater in 1996. After numerous regional productions, Jitney arrived in New York City in 2000, produced Off Broadway at Second Stage Theatre. This is its first Broadway staging.


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