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Race Debate: White Director Revives August Wilson Play

Playwright August Wilson insisted that his plays about the black experience always be directed by an African American. But a white man is now directing the first Broadway revival of Wilson's plays since his death in 2005. Many black directors are concerned, if not outraged.

The Lincoln Center Theater selected Tony-award winning director Bartlett Sher to direct Wilson's "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," a decision that some say betrays Wilson's legacy.

The playwright's preference for black directors came from a belief that they best understood the African American experience and thus his characters. He also wanted his plays to offer high-profile opportunities for black directors often shut off from major projects. Despite these concerns, Wilson's widow did approve of Sher's selection.

Whether or not the Lincoln Center made the right decision, the controversy has started a dialogue about opportunities for black professionals in the theater and film worlds. Do you think Wislon's wishes should still be honored after his death, or is it refreshing to see people of any color interpreting his stories?


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