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Charles S. Dutton goes from jail to Yale at August Wilson Center

For TV, film and stage actor Charles S. Dutton, the pathway from jail to Yale began with an anthology of plays by African-American playwrights.

The two-time Tony nominees returns to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to perform his one-man show "From Jail to Yale: Serving Time on Stage" at the August Wilson Center, Downtown.

The program is part of a benefit reception for the Pittsburgh chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. The event honors Leo W. Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers and AFL-CIO executive committee member, for his support of the institute's Breaking the Chains of Poverty program.

Dutton is most widely known as the star and executive producer of the Fox comedy/drama "Roc," and appearances in "House," "The Sopranos" and the HBO series "Oz." He also appeared on Broadway and received Tony nominations for his performances in two August Wilson dramas: "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and "The Piano Lesson." He reprised his role of Willy Boy in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of "The Piano Lesson," which was filmed in Pittsburgh.

In his stage show, Dutton relates how he grew up on the streets of Baltimore, then discovered his passion for acting while serving a seven-year term in prison, where he directed and acted in his first play.

After his release, he earned degrees from Hagerstown Junior College and Towson University and eventually enrolled in the Yale School of Drama in 1983.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday with a reception. The performance follows at 7:30 p.m. Admission: $50 for the performance; $125 for reception and performance. Details: 412-338-8742 or www.trustarts.org .

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