The Piano Lesson

Romare Bearden ~ The Piano Lesson

I am always falling in love with actors! Sunday night, it was with strong-voiced Chuck Cooper as the razzle-dazzle Wining Boy in August Wilson’s Piano Lesson.  The amazing cast is directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson at the Signature Theatre but it’s Cooper who’s the principal reason to see this production!. You cannot help falling for his exuberant portrayal of the schemer who appears in town whenever he is down on his luck. Do not miss it!

The play is about the conflict between a brother and a sister who disagree about the value of their legacy. At the heart of the play stands the carved piano which represents the family’s past. Berniece clings to the piano as a reminder of the family’s sacrifices; Boy Willie dreams of selling it to buy land that his family had worked as slaves. The Piano Lesson poses these questions: What do you do with your legacy, and how do you best put it to use? Hold on to your feelings and cherish a symbol of the past? Or put it to work for you to create a different kind of future? Too often we have to make the choice to let go and move on… but one choice you should make is to make your way to the Signature Theatre and see Chuck Cooper in the Piano Lesson!

Chuck Cooper as Wining Boy
Photograph by Lindsay Champion

Signature returns to the rich body of work of its 2006/07 Playwright-in-Residence August Wilson with a new production of his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Piano Lesson. In Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1936, the Charles family battle their surroundings and each other over their shared legacy — an antique piano.
The fourth play of August Wilson’s epic Century Cycle, The Piano Lesson is a stunning and moving drama of family, history, and survival.

All tickets through December 9 are $25. Tickets beginning December 11 are $75.


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