"One of the most important voices in the American theater"
--The New York Times
The Piano Lesson (1930s)
Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Directed by Kenny Leon
Bearing the ornately carved faces of her enslaved ancestors, Berniece Charles's antique piano is her family's most treasured heirloom. Though it sits collecting dust, the option to sell it for land sparks a fierce debate with her exuberant brother Boy Willie, a Mississippi sharecropper.
--Running Time: 2 hours, 43 minutes, with one intermission--
Doaker: Bill Nunn
Boy Willie: Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Lymon: Jason Dirden
Berniece: Heather Alicia Simms
Maretha: Alexandra Brooke Perrin
Avery: Afemo Omilami
Wining Boy: Stephen McKinley Henderson
Grace: Cherise Boothe
An American icon, August Wilson depicted the human condition like no other playwright of his time. His legacy lives on through his crowning achievement: a cycle of 10 plays chronicling the African American experience, each set in a different decade of the 20th century. Crafted over nearly 25 years, these works garnered Wilson myriad accolades, including a Tony Award and two Pulitzer Prizes. Bringing them together for the first time ever, the Kennedy Center presents staged readings of all 10 of Wilson's masterpieces, frequently dubbed "The Pittsburgh Cycle," as all but one are grounded in the city of his youth.
More than 30 stars of stage and screen join Artistic Director Kenny Leon and six other acclaimed directors for this historic month-long celebration (March 4–April 6, 2008). Complemented with costumes, lighting, and scenery, the plays will be performed in chronological order--collectively revealing Wilson's sweeping vision of the challenge and glory of being black in America.
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