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2007/08 Season
PRODUCTIONS
The Piano Lesson
By AUGUST WILSON
Directed by WALTER DALLAS
On the F. Otto Haas Stage
March 6 - April 13, 2008

In 1936 Pittsburgh, Boy Willie and his sister Berniece battle over the future of a treasured heirloom: a piano with unique ancestral carvings by their grandfather, an enslaved plantation carpenter. He wants to sell the piano to buy land. She insists that the instrument carries too much history to cast aside. In a home haunted by memories, the issue of whether or not to sell cuts deeply and raises questions about honoring the past or moving into the future.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson died in 2005 after completing ten plays plays chronicling the African-American experience in the 20th century, decade by decade.

Slide Show Study Guide Press Release
Critical Acclaim–

"A sure winner... Baxter's performance was compelling and sure-footed... the entire cast is superb... muscular standout performance by Kes Khemnu. Textbook examples of how to bring characters off the page and build them on the stage... one of theater's great spiritual denouements, performed here fantastically." –Philadelphia Inquirer [Review]

"Wilson's vivid and descriptive writing literally sparkles in this piece, and Dallas is obviously intimately acquainted with the rhythm and vitality of it. Superior cast... Khemnu should be considered for a Barrymore Award after this unforgettable performance. Everything about this production was first-rate... in August Wilson and Walter Dallas, we have discovered a theatrical "Dream Team"... absolutely captivating."
–Philadelphia Tribune [Review]

"Portrays African-American life with bravado and honesty... an enthralling revival by the Arden. Dallas makes Wilson's scripts sing. Kayla Moses Baxter delivers an extraordinary performance. These people are so warmly alive... we love these intense, imperfect characters. Wilson fans will want to rush to this superlative production." –Philadelphia City Paper [Review]

"Coursing with as much music as magic, The Piano Lesson is the best play I have seen this season, either in Philly or on Broadway, and will be hard, if not impossible to top. Subtle yet dynamic performances offered by every cast member... every element is distinctive as it is distinguished. Wilson's work is accessed with exemplary ease and effortless determination by director Walter Dallas... a triumphant play that has been brought to vivid life in a triumphant production." –Weekly Press

"A windmill of emotion, whirling around wonderful characters... a mix of local and national talent whose gifts are superbly matched... Another triumph for the Arden: set, costumes, lighting. Everything fits." –WRTI

"Dallas' production captures the extraordinary musicality of Wilson's words. [Kes] Khemnu's performance as Boy Willie is a force of nature, a tornado that blows into the house and threatens to rip the family from its foundation." –Philadelphia Weekly

"A fascinating play... Wilson's ear for language is without peer... mysterious and exhilarating... a superb production... brilliant!"
–Chestnut Hill Local

"A matchless mounting... a monument to theatrical craftsmanship."
–KYW Newsradio

Behind the Scenes–

Go behind the scenes of The Piano Lesson with Jason Peifer on WRTI's Creatively Speaking.  [Podcast]

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Toby Zinman provides a preview of The Piano Lesson.  [Article]

Meet Kes Khemnu, starring as Boy Willie in The Piano Lesson, in Montgomery Ticket.  [Article]
1
The Piano Lesson
Cast
Kala Moses Baxter
Katrina Yvette Cooper
Chioma Dunkley
Kes Khemnu
Julian Rozzell, Jr.
Harum Ulmer, Jr.
Yaegel T. Welch
Brian Anthony Wilson

Scenic Designer
Donald Eastman
Costume Designer
Alison Roberts
Lighting Designer
Curtis V. Hodge
Sound Designer
Jorge Cousineau
Assistant Director
Megan O'Brien
Stage Manager
Katharine M. Hanley
Musicians
David Ames
Andrew Nelson


APPLAUSE, PLEASE,
FOR OUR SPONSOR:
Commerce Bank

AND OUR MEDIA PARTNERS:
Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News & Philly.com
Jewish Exponent & Inside Magazine
WRTI 90.1-FM
WHYY
Philadelphia Tribune


Honorary Producer
The Honorable
Michael A. Nutter
Mayor, City of Philadelphia
©2009 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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