PHOTO CALL: Signature Presents The Piano Lesson, Starring Chuck Cooper, Brandon J. Dirden, Roslyn Ruff
By Krissie Fullerton
06 Nov 2012
Chuck Cooper, Brandon J. Dirden, and Roslyn Ruff star in the Signature Theatre Company staging of the late August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play about family, legacy and ghosts. Performances began Oct. 30 prior to a Nov. 18 opening night at the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center on West 42nd Street.
The cast includes Eric Lenox Abrams (HBO's "Boardwalk Empire") as Avery, Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper (Finian's Rainbow, The Life) as Wining Boy, Brandon J. Dirden (Clybourne Park, Signature's The First Breeze of Summer) as Boy Willie, Jason Dirden (Signature's The First Breeze of Summer) as Lymon, Alexis Holt (South Pacific tour) as Maretha, Mandi Masden (Off-Broadway debut) as Grace, Roslyn Ruff (Signature's Seven Guitars, "The Help") as Berniece and James A. Williams (Signature's My Children! My Africa!) as Doaker.
Wilson was Signature's Playwright-in-Residence in 2006-07. Signature's mission includes returning to the titles of its alumni writers. The Piano Lesson is set in Pittsburgh's Hill District in 1936. In it, according to Signature, "the Charles family battle their surroundings and each other over their shared legacy — an antique piano." The Pulitzer Prize-winning work is the fourth play of Wilson's Century Cycle exploring the black experience in plays set in every decade of the 20th century. It's billed as "a stunning and moving drama of family, history and survival."
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.