Star Tribune photo by Renee Jones Schneider

The life of Marion McClinton, the Obie-winning, Tony-nominated director, playwright and actor best known for piloting August Wilson’s plays across the nation to Broadway and London, will be celebrated in an all-day event in the new year.

McClinton, 65, died in his native St Paul Thanksgiving morning from complications related to kidney disease, according to his family. Private services were held.

The memorial service will be on March 1 at Pillsbury House Theatre, which McClinton considered his artistic home at the end of his career. 

“We’re planning an all-day event, with readings from his plays, testimonials, videos and music,” said E.G. Bailey, who served as McClinton’s assistant for from 2012-2016, working on about a dozen productions.

Pillsbury House producing artistic director Faye Price said that the memorial will use the whole building, including the lobby and upstairs spaces.

“This was Marion’s wish and the family is honoring it,” Price said.

McClinton worked with Wilson across the nation, directing “King Hedley II” and “Gem of the Ocean” at national theaters in places like Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, among others, before landing the shows on Broadway.

He also staged the revised version of Wilson’s “Jitney,” winning an Obie. That production toured to England, where it won an Olivier, Britain’s Tony.

McClinton worked extensively in the Twin Cities, from the Children’s Theatre and Park Square Theatre to Mixed Blood Theatre, the Jungle, and Penumbra Theatre, where he was a co-founder and where he honed his style.

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