August Wilson’s


by August Wilson

Co-Conceived by Todd Kriedler

A Miami Premiere

Directed by Carey Brianna Hart

Starring Melvin Huffnagle

September 30th – October 22nd, 2023
Preview performance: Friday, September 29th

With generous
support from
Rick & Myrna Toren

SEED School of Miami Education Initiative Sponsored by Dorothy Terrell

Florida Memorial University Education Initiative Sponsored by
Pat Papper

Running Time: 1 hr. 45 minutes.
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.

Presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

"...Complex and surprisingly funny...a crowd-pleasing 100 minutes in the company of a wonderful writer."

In this autobiographical tour de force, the late Pulitzer Prize-winner takes audiences on a life-changing voyage from being a young poet in Pittsburgh’s Hill District to his encounters with racism, music, love and transformative friendships. Starring Miami’s own Melvin Huffnagle and directed by Carey Brianna Hart, August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned charts one man’s journey of self-discovery and what it means to be a black artist in America.

“Gablestage’s August Wilson Solo Show Details How a Writer Found His Voice” – Christine Dolen, Artburst Miami – Read More

“Life of Legendary Black Playwright on Stage” – Kevin Deutsch, Miami Times – Read More

“It’s a great time to reassess the legacy of August Wilson, considered by many to be the most important American playwright of the 20th century.” – John Thomason, Boca Magazine – Read More

Pre-Show Talks

Resident Dramaturg Karina Batchelor or Producing Artistic Director Bari Newport will present dramaturgical presentations 30 minutes before each performance.


Melvin Huffnagle


Melvin Huffnagle is ecstatic to make his debut at GableStage. A Native of Buffalo, NY., Mr. Huffnagle holds an MFA from The University of Florida. Melvin has worked professionally in NYC for over twenty years. He is a ten year member of The Layon Gray American Theatre in NYC where he originated numerous roles in the company’s many Off-Broadway productions; Cowboy, Gus The Kings of Harlem Coach, Ben Coffey III, and Searching for Willie Lynch , Harlen Davis. Mr. Huffnagle also appeared as Jerimaih Jones in the company’s long running and award winning Black Angels Over Tuskegee. Most recently, Melvin appeared as Memphis in The M Ensemble’s production of Two Trains Running. Film and Television Credits include: Striped Search, Directed by Sidney Lumet, Law and Order SVU, Law and Order CI “Royal Pains”, The Family Business, and the Award winning short film Brooklyn In July. Melvin currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Acting in FIU’s Theatre Department.

Photo: David Genik

Robert L. Strain


Performing 10/4, 10/11 and 10/18 at 2pm and 10/12 at 10:30am.

Robert Strain has worked as a professional actor in South Florida for the past twenty-two years. He has performed at various theatres in the area, including Miami New Drama, GableStage, New Theatre, Mosaic Theatre, The Jerry Herman Ring Theatre, and City Theatre. Some of Robert’s favorite roles include: Christian in Ruined (Gablestage-Carbonell Award, Best Supporting Actor), Lucius in Tom Walker (New Theatre-Carbonell Nomination Best Supporting Actor), Kreon in Antigone, Kent in King Lear, and Roosevelt in Radio Golf. Robert has been a faculty member at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens for the past twenty-four years and would like to extend a special thanks to his friends and colleagues there who have worked together with him, both inside and outside of the classroom, to make a positive difference in students’ lives. Go Lions!

Photo: Stephen G. Anthon

Creative Team

Bari Newport* – Producing Artistic Director
Frank J Oliva** – Scenic Designer
Karina Batchelor – Dramaturg
Marialexia Hernandez – Production Stage Manager & Costume Coordinator
Amanda Hernandez – Assistant Stage Manager
Ernesto Pinto – Lighting Designer
Joel Zishuk – Projection Designer
* Member of The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
** Member of United Scenic Artists

Photo: August Wilson Legacy LLC


August Wilson

August Wilson, born Frederick August Kittel in 1945, grew up in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which would later become the setting for many of his renowned plays. Despite facing racism and adversity during his high school years, he dropped out at age 15 and continued his education informally, immersing himself in the language and culture of his community. After a brief stint in the U.S. Army, Wilson worked various odd jobs to support himself and discovered his passion for writing. He began writing poetry and became involved in the Black Arts Movement, co-founding the Black Horizon Theater with collaborator Rob Penny in 1968.

In 1978, Wilson moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he focused on playwriting and joined the Penumbra Theatre. His play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” gained widespread recognition, marking a turning point in his career. He met Lloyd Richards, the African-American artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre, who directed Wilson’s first six plays on Broadway. Wilson went on to win two Pulitzer Prizes for his plays “Fences” and “The Piano Lesson.” He continued to receive acclaim for his work and earned numerous accolades throughout his life.

Tragically, in June 2005, at the age of 60, Wilson was diagnosed with liver cancer and passed away on October 2, 2005, in Seattle, Washington. His legacy lives on through the August Wilson Theatre, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, and the August Wilson Monologue Competition, all dedicated to preserving and celebrating his contributions to American theater.


Carey Brianna Hart

Carey Brianna Hart is thrilled to present art at GableStage. She is a native Floridian, born in Miami and a graduate of the New World School of the Arts and The Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University. Carey has taught Theatre for the Miami Dade County Public Schools, AreaStage and M Ensemble Theatre. Carey has worked on productions by the African American Performing Arts Community Theatre, AreaStage, City Theatre, Ebeneezer Productions, GableStage, Juggernaut Theatre, M Ensemble Theatre, Mad Cat, Main Street Players, New Theatre, Thinking Cap Theatre, Vinnette Carroll Theatre and Women’s Theatre Project. She has directed TopdogUnderdog, Shakespeare Is A White Supremacist, Blues For An Alabama Sky, Sisters, Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, Tears A Sister Cries, Other Side of America. Carey hosts a weekly radio talk show about the Arts on am 1490 WMBM (Saturdays @ 9:30am). Carey seeks to continue contributing to the Artistic Landscape of the World.

Photo: Bob Lasky.

GableStage is proud to announce its non-profit partnership for the production of August Wilson's How I Learned What I Learned

"YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all."

To become a non-profit production partner please email