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How I Learned What I Learned
Join the August Wilson African American Cultural Center on Friday, March 3rd, 2023 for How I Learned What I Learned, the fourth event of the inaugural Beyond the Red Door: a theatrical event series. Beloved Pittsburgh actor, Wali Jamal, returns to the main stage with his critically acclaimed performance of August Wilson’s autobiographical, one-man-show.
Wilson walks with us through his fascinating life story from beginning, through his many firsts in love, work, and purpose, to the completion of the award winning ten-play series, the American Century Cycle, near the end of his life. We meet, laugh and cry with many of the captivating people who shaped him as a man, a poet, and a playwright.
About Wali Jamal
Wali Jamal was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. A seasoned veteran of the stage. He started his career in entertainment in the mid 80’s, performing locally as a nightclub comedian. But his true passion was to perform on stage as an actor. He performed as the drummer in NBC’s The Temptaions, in the 1969 scene at The Copa. With no formal training, he got his chance in 1998, when he met Dr Vernell A.W. Lillie at an audition for Kuntu Repertory Theater. He walked in off the street, walked out with the lead role in the play, Lifting, by Frank F Hightower, and has never left the stage since. He has performed at just about every theater company in Pittsburgh. Shows to include; The Little Foxes, Our Town, The Full Monty, Parade, The Exonerated, Pill Hill, Soldier’s Play, and many many others. This year he performed in; After Independence (George, Zoom Cast, Pittsburgh Irish Classical Theater), Paradise Blue (Corn, City Theater, Pittsburgh), Sweat (Brucie, Independence, Kansas), Two Trains Running (West, Pittsburgh Public Theater), Kinky Boots (George, Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh) The African Company Presents Richard the III (Papa Shakespeare, St. Louis, The Black Rep), and Death of a Salesman, (Charlie, Nebraska Repertory Theater.) Wali has a special affinity for the work of August Wilson. He has performed in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Toledo 2003/2018), Joe Turner’s Comes and Gone (Seth Holly 2005), The Piano Lesson (Avery 2006/Boy Willie 2015), Seven Guitars (Canewell 2006/Hedley 2009/2018/2023), Fences (Bono 2015/2016), TwoTrains Running (Wolf 2010/West 2022), Jitney (Doub 2011), King Hedley the II (2018) Radio Golf (Sterling 2012) Gem of the Ocean (Caesar 2011/2014/2016/2019). He has performed How I Learned What I Learned twice before at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture (2018/2019). He has also performed the one man show at the University of North Carolina @ Charlotte, The National Black Theater Festival, (Winston Salem, NC 2019) and The New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh. This performance had earned Wali the 2018 Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Performer of the Year. Wali Jamal is the first and only actor in the world to have performed this one man show in addition to August Wilson’s Ten Play American Century Cycle. People in Pittsburgh like to call it The Pittsburgh Cycle. Wali extends his most humble thanks Ms. Janis Burley for the opportunities she gave me at The Center to August Wilson Society’s President, Dr Sandra Shannon, whose determination kept my performance in the Symposium amid the chaos created by Covid-19.