August Wilson's The Piano Lesson

by  August Wilson

Full Length Play, Drama  /  5m, 3f

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

Read more +

August Wilson's The Piano Lesson

by  August Wilson

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5m, 3f
  • Duration

    Duration

    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Period
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Pulitzer, From Broadway, From Off-Broadway
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Monologues
    • Scene work
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

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.

Read more +

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.

Reviews

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

Videos

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

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance

    This title is currently unavailable for licensing in the United States and Canada. Please contact your representative to note interest for future seasons.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Pittsburgh. 1930's. 
  • Additional Features: Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

5m, 3f
AVERY
WINNING BOY
BOY WILLIE
LYMON
MARETHA
GRACE
BERNIECE
DOAKER
See all +

Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Ensemble cast
  • Roles for Children

More

Authors

August Wilson

August Wilson (April 27, 1945-October 2, 2005) authored 

View full profile

The Piano Lesson premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre in November 1987 under the direction of Lloyd Richards.

Now Playing

Community Experiences