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The Piano Lesson

The Piano Lesson Moves Broadway Theatres, Previews Begin This September

The first Broadway revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson will now play the Ethel Barrymore Theatre for its 17-week engagement. The production was originally set to open at Broadway’s St. James Theatre which is currently housing the Broadway revival of Into the Woods.

The Barrymore’s history with Wilson’s legacy stretches back to 1988, when the original production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (the second play in his American Century Cycle) premiered there to glowing reviews, earning the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. Performances for The Piano Lesson will begin on Monday, September 19, 2022, with an official opening night to be announced at a later date.

As previously announced, The Piano Lesson will be directed by Tony Award nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson – who is making her Broadway directorial debut and will be the first woman to ever direct an August Wilson play on Broadway. The show stars Samuel L. Jackson as Doaker Charles, John David Washington as Boy Willie, and Danielle Brooks as Berniece. The cast also features Trai Byers as Avery, Ray Fisher as Lymon, April Matthis as Grace, and Michael Potts as Wining Boy.

Producer Brian Anthony Moreland commented, “We are thrilled to have secured this iconic playhouse, which happened to have been one of August Wilson’s favorite theaters. The legacy of the Barrymore makes it the ideal space to experience a play all about how we shepherd and look after our ancestral legacies.”

The Piano Lesson is set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1936. A brother and sister are locked in a war over the fate of a family heirloom: a piano carved with the faces of their ancestors. Only by revisiting history can the siblings endeavor to move forward. The Piano Lesson, wrote Frank Rich in The New York Times, “has its own spacious poetry, its own sharp angle on a nation’s history, its own metaphorical idea of drama and its own palpable ghosts that roar right through the upstairs window of the household where the action unfolds. Like other Wilson plays, The Piano Lesson seems to sing even when it is talking.”

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