Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Prop Piano in THE PIANO LESSON on Broadway to be Donated to The Smithsonian

Prop Piano in THE PIANO LESSON on Broadway to be Donated to The Smithsonian

The Piano Lesson is now playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre through January 29, 2023.

The titular prop piano in the hit Broadway revival of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson will be donated to The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture after the culmination of the production's recently-extended run. The highest grossing revival of a play on Broadway - and the highest grossing Wilson production on Broadway ever - is now playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (243 W 47th Street) through January 29, 2023.

The piano, on which the plot revolves, is decorated with a historical tableau hand-carved by an enslaved ancestor of the main characters. The one created for this production was created by the production's scenic designer, Beowulf Boritt, and built at BB props in Little Falls, NY.

Kenneth Chenault, (Chairperson, National Museum of African American History and Culture Advisory Council), commented, "The prospect of receiving this magnificent piece of theater history into the collection of the Smithsonian African American Museum is exciting. It's an important reminder of the significance of the Black voice in theater and due recognition of the brilliance of August Wilson."

The Piano Lesson is directed by Tony Award® nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson, who is making her Broadway directorial debut and is the first woman to ever direct an August Wilson play on Broadway. The production stars Samuel L. Jackson as Doaker Charles, John David Washington as Boy Willie, and Danielle Brooks as Berniece. The current cast also features Michael Potts as Wining Boy, Ray Fisher as Lymon, Charles Browning as Avery, April Matthis as Grace, and Nadia Daniel and Jurnee Swan as Maretha at alternating performances.

August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, which premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987 and starred a then-39-year-old Samuel L. Jackson as Boy Willie, is the fourth play in the American Century Cycle. Three years later, a new production, starring Carl Gordon, Charles S. Dutton and S. Epatha Merkerson, opened at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, and soon transferred to Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama, The Piano Lesson won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the Peabody Award and was nominated for the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play.

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. 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."

The design team for The Piano Lesson includes Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt (Set Design), Tony Award nominee Toni-Leslie James (Costume Design), Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman (Lighting Design), Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Drama Desk Award nominee Cookie Jordan (Wig Design), Tony Award nominee Jeff Sugg (Projection Design), Alvin Hough Jr. (Music & Music Direction), Otis Sallid (Choreographer). Casting is by Calleri, Jensen, Davis. General Management is by Foresight Theatrical.


BroadwayWorld Shop
Shop BroadwayWorld

Shop this season's new musicals! Get dressed up for a night at the theatre, or just a night at home, with merch from some of Broadway's biggest hits including SOME LIKE IT HOT, KIMBERLY AKIMBO, and more!

Start Shopping



Related Stories
THE PIANO LESSON on Broadway to be Filmed Tonight Photo
The Broadway revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson will be filmed for the Lincoln Center Theatre on Film and Tape Archives. See how to purchase tickets to The Piano Lesson, and more!

THE PIANO LESSON Plays Final Broadway Performance Photo
On January 29, the Broadway revival of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson concludes its run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, having played 27 previews and 124 regular performances. The production is the highest grossing revival of a play on Broadway and the highest grossing Wilson production on Broadway ever.

Photos: Oprah Winfrey, Billy Porter, Anne Hathaway, & More Visit THE PIANO LESSON Photo
The Piano Lesson on Broadway has seen several notable guests, including Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Billy Porter, Anne Hathaway, and more! BroadwayWorld was on hand to capture photos of the guests backstage with members of the cast. Check out the photos here!

Photos: See Robert De Niro, Lucy Liu & More Stars at THE PIANO LESSON Photo
See photos of Robert De Niro, Lucy Liu and many more stars attending The Piano Lesson on Broadway!


More Hot Stories For You


Cindy Williams, Stage Actor and LAVERNE & SHIRLEY Star, Passes Away At 75Cindy Williams, Stage Actor and LAVERNE & SHIRLEY Star, Passes Away At 75
January 30, 2023

Cindy Williams, a star of stage and screen and one half of the iconic duo, 'Laverne & Shirley' has passed away at the age of 75. 

Broadway Bares to Take Place This June at NYC's Hammerstein BallroomBroadway Bares to Take Place This June at NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom
January 30, 2023

Broadway Bares will once again kick off Pride week in New York City with two performances featuring more than 150 of the city’s dancers on Sunday, June 18, 2023, at Hammerstein Ballroom. See how to purchase tickets!

Photos/Video: Lea Michele and Ramin Karimloo Talk FUNNY GIRL on SiriusXMPhotos/Video: Lea Michele and Ramin Karimloo Talk FUNNY GIRL on SiriusXM
January 30, 2023

SiriusXM kicked off a special Town Hall with Lea Michele and Ramin Karimloo, co-stars of Broadway smash-hit Funny Girl, last Thursday.  Michele and Karimloo discussed the process of recording the musical's cast album, working with Barbra Streisand, and more!

Actors' Equity Releases Statement Condemning Attacks on Transgender People and Drag PerformancesActors' Equity Releases Statement Condemning Attacks on Transgender People and Drag Performances
January 30, 2023

Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has issued a statement regarding the growing number of attacks on transgender people, often framed as attacks on drag performance.

Howard McGillin, Jay Armstrong Johnson, and More Join PARADE; Full Casting Announced!Howard McGillin, Jay Armstrong Johnson, and More Join PARADE; Full Casting Announced!
January 30, 2023

Complete casting has been announced as rehearsals begin today for the new Broadway production of Parade starring Tony Award® winner Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond. Learn more about who will be starring in the revival here!