By Jason Ulrich, Broadside Correspondent

In Denzel Washington’s riveting return to stage acting, both he and fellow thespians Viola Davis and Mykelti Williamson appear in the Broadway revival of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences.

The play, written by famed playwright August Wilson, will officially open up today, April 26, and will run for 13 weeks at Cort Theatre in New York City.

Part of Wilson’s famous “Pittsburgh Cycle,” a group of dramas concerned with the African American experience during the 20th century, Fences is one of his most popular pieces. Taking place in the Pittsburgh of 1957, Troy Maxson (Washington) is a family man who works as a garbage collector with aspirations to be the first black truck driver.

The character, originally played by James Earl Jones, constructs a fence around his home throughout the play, reminiscing his heyday as a ballplayer for the Negro Leagues.

Washington, whose last Broadway venture was 2005’s Julius Caeser, takes this tough role and runs with it, playing off both Maxson’s ferocious anger and indignation as well as displaying a surprising inflection of physical humor.

Troy Maxson is unlike any character Washington has played in his long career. Through concentrating on the man’s obsession with responsibility, the audience is able to see not only how black and white Maxson looks at everything, but moreover how gray his actions end up being. As Tony Award-winning Director Kenny Leon said, “Denzel is amazing! He’s such a beast on stage.”

Some other notable performers in the production are Mykelti Williamson (Forrest Gump, Three Kings), playing Troy’s mentally incapacitated brother Gabriel, and Stephen McKinley Henderson, a veteran actor of Wilson’s plays who takes on the role of Bono, Troy’s best friend, fellow garbage man and drinking buddy.

Tony Award-winner Viola Davis (State of Play, Traffic) gives a performance for the books as Troy’s faithful wife of 18 years. The performance was reminiscent of her breakthrough role in Doubt, in which she starred opposite Meryl Streep and was nominated for an Oscar.

Other jewels of the revival are the original jazzy score by Grammy-winner Branford Marsalis and, above all, the gorgeous set design by Tony Award-winner Santo Loquasto.

“It’s a joy working with such dedicated and generous actors,” says Henderson, though the same could be said for the audience viewing the production.