August Wilson, widely considered one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th Century, was the bard of the black experience. Wilson’s play The Piano Lesson, part of his American Century Cycle, with one play representing each decade of the African-American experience, is set in 1953. An engaging revival of the 1990 play, which is directed by LaTanya Richardson Jackson, is now heating up Broadway, telling the tale of generational trauma through the Charles family’s fighting over a haunted piano.

Bernice (Danielle Brooks) fights with brother Willie Boy (John David Washington, son of Denzel Washington) over the fate of an old family piano – Bernice wants to preserve the heirloom and all it represents while Willie Boy demands to sell it to finance his acquisition of land down south. Knockout performances by Washington and Brooks animate the production while the supporting cast, including Samuel L. Jackson (husband of the director), round out the stellar ensemble. This is one Lesson not to be missed.

The Piano Lesson is now playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway.

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