PBS Documentary Celebrates the Life of Legendary Playwright August Wilson
PBS Documentary Celebrates the Life of Legendary Playwright August Wilson (Photo Credit: PBS Video Screengrab)

A new PBS documentary, August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, will air on Feb, 20, giving an inside look at the extraordinary life of the Pulitzer and Tony award winning playwright. Wilson wrote 10 plays, nine of which were based on his hometown, over a 10-year period, exploring the cultural ideas and attitudes of a “specific type of people.”

Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad share their “stories of the career- and life-changing experience of bringing Wilson’s rich theatrical voice to the stage,” according to PBS. “Wilson’s sister Freda Ellis, his widow and costume designer Constanza Romero, as well as friends, colleagues and scholars trace Wilson’s influences, creative evolution, triumphs, struggles and quest for cultural determinism before his untimely death from liver cancer.”

August Wilson, a biracial child who grew up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, was “influenced by the rising black consciousness of the 1960s and became a young, activist poet.” He grew up in poverty and dropped out of high school due to bullying and racial prejudice. He went on to a life of acclaim and left an indelible mark on the theater. Countless careers were started as a result of August Wilson.

August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand premieres on Feb. 20, at 9 p.m. on PBS. It will commemorate the Wilson’s 70th birthday and the 10 year anniversary of his death.

Here’s the trailer to American Masters August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand: