Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, this modern American classic is about family, and the legacy of slavery in America.
August Wilson has already given the American theater such spell-binding plays about the black experience in 20th-century America as Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences. In his second Pulitzer Prize-winner, The Piano Lesson, Wilson has fashioned perhaps his most haunting and dramatic work.
At the heart of the play stands the ornately carved upright piano which, as the Charles family's prized, hard-won possession, has been gathering dust in the parlor of Berniece Charles's Pittsburgh home. When Boy Willie, Berniece's exuberant brother, bursts into her life with his dream of buying the same Mississippi land that his family had worked as slaves, he plans to sell their antique piano for the hard cash he needs to stake his future. But Berniece refuses to sell, clinging to the piano as a reminder of the history that is their family legacy. This dilemma is the real "piano lesson," reminding us that blacks are often deprived both of the symbols of their past and of opportunity in the present.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play
"Heart-stopping... The play's real music is in the language... Mr. Wilson's most virtuosic writing to date."— The New York Times
“Stupendous… rich and resonant.”— The Washington Post
“Feisty, ebullient, exuberant… Wilson is a consummate storyteller.”— Los Angeles Times
August Wilson was a major American playwright whose work has been consistently acclaimed as among the finest of the American theater. Most recently, Fences was adapted into a major motion picture directed by and starring Denzel Washington. The play won numerous awards for best play of the year in 1987 including the Tony Award, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. Among other awards, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best new play of 1984-85 and Joe Turner's Come and Gone was voted best play of 1987-1988 by the New York Drama Critics' Circle. In 1990, Wilson was awarded his second Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson. August Wilson died in 2005.