August Wilson's The Piano Lesson

A SAMUEL FRENCH, INC. TITLE

August Wilson's The Piano Lesson

Full-Length Play, Drama  /  3f, 5m

"Like other Wilson plays, it seems to sing even when it is talking." - The New York Times

Image: Joan Marcus

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 5m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Period
  • Suggested Use
    Suggested Use
    • Monologues
    • Scene work
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult
Accolades
Accolades
  • Winner! 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
    Winner! 1990 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding New Play
    Nominee! 1990 Tony Award, Best Play
    Nominee! 2013 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Revival of a Play
    Nominee! 2013 Drama League Award, Outstanding Revival of a Play 

    August Wilson is the recipient of the 1986 Whiting Award for Drama.

Licence details
  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.
    Performance rights for this title are currently withdrawn in the UK. To be informed as soon as it becomes available in the future, please submit a license application.

Details

Summary
It is 1936, and Boy Willie arrives in Pittsburgh from the South in a battered truck loaded with watermelons to sell. He has an opportunity to buy some land down home, but he has to come up with the money right quick. He wants to sell an old piano that has been in his family for generations, but he shares ownership with his sister and it sits in her living room. She has already rejected several offers because the antique piano is covered with incredible carvings detailing the family’s rise from slavery. Boy Willie tries to persuade his stubborn sister that the past is past, but she is more formidable than he anticipated.

Cast Attributes
  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Ensemble cast
  • Roles for Children
Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
AVERY
WINNING BOY
BOY WILLIE
LYMON
MARETHA
GRACE
BERNIECE
DOAKER
  • Time Period 1930s
  • Setting Pittsburgh. 1930's. 
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Play w/ Music
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Alcohol
    • Strong Language
    • Mild Adult Themes

Media

REVIEWS

"Like other Wilson plays, it seems to sing even when it is talking." - The New York Times

"A lovely tragi-comedy...Haunting as well as haunted." - New York Newsday

"Wonderful...A play of magnificent confrontations." - New York Post

ON BREAKING CHARACTER

Top 15 Plays and Musicals About Siblings
Concord Theatricals
April 8, 2019


Videos

  • Berta, Berta from "The Piano Lesson" Live in The Greene Space

Photos

  • August Wilson's The Piano Lesson

    Image: Joan Marcus

Music

  • Musical StyleN/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal DemandsN/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus SizeN/A (Not a musical)

Materials

Authors

August Wilson

August Wilson (April 27, 1945 - October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experienc ...

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