Tony winner Chuck Cooper, Eric Lenox Abrams, Brandon J. Dirden and more are set to star in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Piano Lesson at off-Broadway’s Pershing Square Signature Center. Originally scheduled to run in 2013, the Signature Theatre Company production will now begin performances October 30, with an official opening night on November 18. Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, The Piano Lesson will play a limited engagement through December 9.
In addition to Cooper as Wining Boy, Abrams as Avery and Dirden as Boy Willie, The Piano Lesson will star Jason Dirden (The First Breeze of Summer) as Lymon, Alexis Holt (South Pacific tour) as Maretha, Mandi Masden as Grace, Roslyn Ruff (Seven Guitars, The Help) as Berniece and James A. Williams (My Children! My Africa!) as Doaker.
Set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1936, The Piano Lesson is the story of the Charles family as they battle their surroundings and each other over their shared legacy—an antique piano. The Piano Lesson originally opened at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre on April 16, 1990, starring Charles S. Dutton and Rocky Carroll. The production played 328 performances before closing January 27, 1991.
Cooper earned a Tony Award for The Life. His additional Broadway credits include Finian’s Rainbow, Lennon, Caroline, or Change, Chicago, Getting Away With Murder, Passion, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and Amen Corner. His film and TV credits include Chapter 27, The Hurricane, American Gangster, North and Law & Order. Abrams’ stage credits include The Dinosaur Within and Hoodoo Love. His film and TV appearances include Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order, Noise, Honeydripper, Never Forever and Brooklyn to Manhattan. Dirden has appeared on Broadway in Clybourne Park, Enron and Prelude to a Kiss. His off-Broadway credits include Peter and the Starcatcher and The First Breeze of Summer.
The Piano Lesson creative team includes scenic designer Michael Carnahan, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designer Rui Rita, sound designer David Van Tieghem Jr., fight director J. David Brimmer, hair and wig designer Valerie Gladstone and piano sculptor Vinnie Bagwell. The show will feature original music by Bill Sims.