Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Piano Lesson: Introduction
The Piano Lesson: Plot Summary
The Piano Lesson: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Piano Lesson: Themes
The Piano Lesson: Quotes
The Piano Lesson: Characters
The Piano Lesson: Symbols
The Piano Lesson: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of August Wilson
Historical Context of The Piano Lesson
Other Books Related to The Piano Lesson
- Full Title: The Piano Lesson
- When Published: 1987
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Drama
- Setting: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1936
- Climax: Berniece banishes Sutter’s ghost.
- Antagonist: Sutter (Sutter’s Ghost)
Extra Credit for The Piano Lesson
Acclaimed Cast. The Piano Lesson opened on November 26, 1987 at the Yale Repertory Theater, with Samuel L. Jackson playing Boy Willie. The Broadway debut, in April 1990, included African American actresses like S. Epatha Merkerson (playing Berniece) and Lisa Gay Hamilton (playing Grace) who subsequently become well-known television and film actors.
Hometown Legacy. In Pittsburgh, the August Wilson African American Cultural Center opened in 2009 to house visual and performing arts and to honor the cultural contributions of African Americans. In 2020, its most recent event was a virtual celebration to honor what would have been Wilson’s 75th birthday.