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About The Piano Lesson

The Piano Lesson is a critically acclaimed play by August Wilson, first staged in 1990. The drama tells the story of Boy Willie and his sister Berniece who struggle over the fate of an old family piano. While Boy Willie is eager to sell the instrument for profit, Berniece is determined to hold on to it as a symbol of their shared family legacy. The Broadway production that premiered at The Walter Kerr Theatre in April 1990 runs for two hours and is thirty minutes long with two intermissions. The play has been performed all around the world including Washington D.C., New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London to name a few. Its most recent adaptation was in 2013 when it ran for six performances on Broadway featuring Kenny Leon as director, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Brandon J Dirden portraying Boy Willie and Berniece respectively and Chuck Cooper as Wining Boy. Also staring Samuel L. Jackson. 

Eventually winning the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama – making August Wilson only the second African-American playwright to ever receive this highly prestigious award. After its success on Broadway, it later went on to become one of Wilson’s most celebrated plays with productions spanning Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East - often receiving Tony Award nominations along its journey. It features various memorable songs such as “What Happened To That Old Piano?” sung by Berniece & Rumpty; “Where Will You Go” performed by Lymon; Pearly’s solo number “Think About What I Done”; Avery’s song “You Got No Right” sung by Grace & Grace & Mama Ola; plus Wining Boy’s showstopper “Goodbye Lonesome Ole Me” among many others that contribute greatly to its dynamic score. The play centers mainly around the struggles of an African-American family that is still trying to overcome the impact of racism in their lives. Show Location: Gallo Center For The Arts.

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