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Drama

August Wilson's How I Learned What I Learned

co-conceived by Todd Kreidler

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A black and white photo of August Wilson in profile against a background of various white pages with writing collaged over a wall. A black and white photo of August Wilson in profile against a background of various white pages with writing collaged over a wall.

You know his iconic work. Now know him.

Written and originally performed by playwriting legend August Wilson himself, this autobiographical tour-de-force chronicles Wilson’s days as a struggling young writer. In this intimate one-person play, experience his first jobs; his first loves; a stint in jail; his encounters with racism, violence, and music; and how the people of Pittsburgh’s Hill District inspired his celebrated cycle of plays. Following his rise from a young poet to the literary giant we honor today, this timeless and heartfelt memoir charts one man’s journey of self-discovery and what it means to be a Black artist in America.

 

 

Photo of August Wilson by David Cooper, originally created for the 2005 World Premiere of Radio Golf at Yale Repertory Theatre.

Run time: ~1 hr, 45 min with no intermission

Content warning: When telling his story, August Wilson doesn’t shy away from adult language (including the n-word) and difficult subjects. He frankly and honestly discusses how racism, violence, sexual relationships, and drug use impacted his life.

You'll love this show if you love...

  • Unapologetically honest explorations of Black identity and artistry
  • Autobiographical pieces by historical icons
  • Intimate and deeply felt shows where actors speak right to you
  • Inspiring shows about perseverance, creativity, and community
  • Lyrical, beautifully poetic dialogue paired with powerful performances
  • No-holds-barred advice and lessons from legends
  • The work and life of August Wilson!

Similar ETC shows:

  • Your Negro Tour Guide by Kathy Y. Wilson, Torie Wiggins, and Jeff Griffin
  • His Eye Is on the Sparrow by Larry Parr
  • Thurgood by George Stevens Jr.

 

Similar titles:

  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix) and other August Wilson works
  • Moonlight (A24)
  • I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon Studios)

Video

Watch the trailer for How I Learned What I Learned
Play Video
Watch the director interview for How I Learned What I Learned
Play Video
Watch the teaser for How I Learned What I Learned
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Watch the video
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Photos

Reviews

“‘ranney’ handles this material masterfully, perhaps the best solo performance I’ve seen in years.” — Rick Pender, Talkin’ Broadway

“[It] is a masterpiece . . . a time at theatre that should not be missed. ” — Katrina Reynolds, Behind the Curtain Cincinnati

Masthead_How-I-Learned

Press

Cast

"ranney"

August Wilson
"ranney"

Deondra Kamau Means

August Wilson u/s
Deondra Kamau Means

Creative team

An older man with a medium-dark skin tone and a graying goatee wearing a fedora hat and looking knowingly at the camera while crossing his arms

August Wilson

Playwright
August Wilson
A photo of a middle-aged white man with glasses and brown hair and a beard sitting in a theatre seat and staring dramatically into camera

Todd Kreidler

Co-Conceiver
Todd Kreidler
A photo of a woman with a medium-dark skin tone and dark brown curls smirking at the camera

Torie Wiggins

Director
Torie Wiggins
A gray placeholder silhouette on a white background representing a person without headshot

Brian c. Mehring

Scenic & Lighting Designer
Brian c. Mehring

Daryl L. Harris

Costume Designer
Daryl L. Harris

Matt Callahan

Sound Designer
Matt Callahan

Becca Schall

Projection Designer
Becca Schall
A gray placeholder silhouette on a white background representing a person without headshot

Shannon Rae Lutz

Properties Curator & Design Assistant
Shannon Rae Lutz
A photo of a young man with a fair skin tone and brown curly hair and a beard smiling at the camera

Jacob Dowell

Technical Director
Jacob Dowell

Chris Lipstreu

Associate Production Manager & Master Electrician
Chris Lipstreu

Lexi Muller

Production Stage Manager
Lexi Muller
A gray placeholder silhouette on a white background representing a person without headshot

ErinMarie Suscheck

Assistant Stage Manager
ErinMarie Suscheck

Events & Accessibility

Several people in theirs 20s and 30s around a restaurant table smiling at the cameraShow Up! Young Professionals Event

Saturday, February 24 at 2:00 pm

Join other Young Professionals (at a special YP price) for the performance then meet the ETC 1125 Bar to mingle and discuss the show over a free drink and bites. Learn how to get the YP discount here.


ETC EssentialsETC Essentials | How August Wilson Impacted American THeatre

Sunday, March 3 at 1:00 pm

August Wilson’s Century Cycle has made him one of the country’s most influential playwrights. Join us and a panel of special guests for a discussion on Wilson’s most poignant characters, how his poetic voice has often been compared to Shakespeare, and how he navigates 400 years of Black history in 10 plays that span the decades of the 20th century. This starts an hour before show time, and registration is recommended.


""Meet the Artists

Thursday, February 29 at 7:30 pm | Sunday, March 3 at 2:00 pm

Stay after the show for a FREE post-show behind-the-scenes discussion with artists from the production.

 


American Sign LanguageASL-Interpreted Performance

Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30 pm

Interpreters perform a translation of the play into ASL alongside the performance in a position with great sightlines to see both the action of the play and the interpreters.

Ask for an assistive listening device at any performance from our box office.


Audio Described PerformanceAudio Described Performance

Saturday, March 9 at 2:00 pm

Patrons can use a headset for one ear to hear descriptions of key visual elements inserted into natural pauses in the show, allowing patrons to still hear dialogue, sound effects, and music.

Ask for large print or Braille playbills at any performance from our box office.


An old-fashioned microphone against a deep blue backgroundETC Cabaret | Blues & Jazz

Saturday, March 9 at 10:00 pm

Join us for a late night musical treat of blues and jazz selections, performed by some ETC favorites! Save your $20 seat to this after-hours cozy cabaret!

 

Photo credits | | First Timer’s Guide, Brooke Steele in The Frog Princess; Ticket Info, Bryant Bentley, Burgess Byrd, and Leslie Goddard-Baum in Detroit ’67 (Mikki Schaffner); Subscriptions, Cast of Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Ticket Discounts, Torie Wiggins in Your Negro Tour Guide. All images by Ryan Kurtz unless otherwise noted.