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August Wilson’s A Piano Lesson at McCarter Theatre Center

Artistic Director Emily Mann brings Princeton a fourth play by American playwright August Wilson. Gem of the OceanFences, and Radio Golf  have preceded The Piano Lesson at McCarter Theatre Center, which just so happens to be the fourth play of the Pittsburgh/Century Cycle of a ten plays by Wilson. The cycle illustrates African-American experiences each decade from the 1900s – 1990s. Over 10 years ago, Jade King Carroll assisted Ruben Santiago-Hudson on August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean as a directing intern at McCarter. She has previously directed Ma Rainey’s Black BottomSeven GuitarsKing Hedley II, and Radio Golf, and fittingly comes full circle back to McCarter directing The Piano Lesson.

 The Piano Lesson was the winner of a Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1990, and a Peabody Award in 1996. It was inspired by the collage Piano Lesson created by American painter and collagist Romare Bearden.

What I saw was black life presented on its own terms, on a grand and epic scale, with all its richness and fullness, in a language that was vibrant and which, made attendant to everyday life, ennobled it, affirmed its value, and exalted its presence. ~ August Wilson on Romare Bearden’s Art (Fishman 134)

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