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Casting Announced for August Wilson's The Piano Lesson at McCarter Theatre Center

Tony nominee John Earl Jelks and Tony winner Cleavant Derricks are among the company.

Tony nominee John Earl Jelks joins the cast of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson at McCarter Theatre Center.
(© David Gordon)

McCarter Theatre Center has announced casting for its upcoming production of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, directed by Jade King Carroll.

Winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, August Wilson's The Piano Lesson is set in 1930s Pittsburgh, revolving around the Charles family and the fate of an ancient piano covered in carvings telling the story of their ancestors. The drama is the fourth play in Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle.

The cast features Tony Award winner Cleavant Derricks (Dreamgirls) as Wining Boy; Tony Award nominee John Earl Jelks (Radio Golf) as Doaker; Marcus Callender (Straight Outta Compton) as Boy Willie; David Pegram (War Horse) as Lymon; Shannon Janee Antalan (Caroline, Or Change) as Grace; Owiso Odera (Overwhelming) as Avery; and Miriam A. Hyman as Berniece. Frances Brown, an eleven year-old Plainsboro native, rounds out the cast as Maretha in her McCarter debut.

The creative team includes scenic design by Neil Patel, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Edward Pierce, sound design by William Kirby, original music by acclaimed jazz composer Baikida Carroll (father to director Jade King Carroll), and musical direction by Richard Harper.

August Wilson's The Piano Lesson marks the fourth McCarter Theatre Center production of Wilson's American Century Cycle plays, following Gem of the Ocean (2005), Radio Golf (2007), and Fences (2014).

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