American Stage is tackling one of August Wilson's most challenging plays in King Hedley II, part of the playwright's 10-play cycle that chronicles African-American life with one play for each decade of the 20th century. Set in 1985 in Pittsburgh's downtrodden Hill District, the play tells the story of a man who served seven years in prison for killing someone who slashed his face with a razor. Now he and a crony are engaged in a scam to peddle refrigerators, and they rob a jeweler to get money to open a video store. Ominously, several of the play's six characters are packing guns.
Postell Pringle plays King Hedley II and Sharon Scott plays Ruby in the show, directed by Bob Devin Jones. It opens Friday and runs through Feb. 15 at American Stage, 211 Third St. S, St. Petersburg. Tonight's preview is sold out. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Sign language interpreter shows Friday, Saturday and Jan. 30. $24-$39; student rush tickets are $10 half an hour before curtain. (727) 823-7529; americanstage.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic