The prop piano at the center of the current Broadway revival of August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson” will be donated to The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., once the production concludes its run on Jan. 29.
Scenic designer Beowulf Boritt led the creation process for the piano, which was built at BB Props in Little Falls, New Jersey. The piano features a historical tableau, which, within the play, was carved by an enslaved ancestor of the story’s main characters.
Other notable Broadway artifacts featured in the Museum are from Ntozake Shange’s 1976 choreopoem, “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf” and the 1943 production of “Othello” which featured Paul Robeson as the first Black actor to take on the title role.
Regarding the piano, chairperson of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Advisory Council Kenneth Chenault said in a statement, “The prospect of receiving this magnificent piece of theater history into the collection of the Smithsonian African American Museum is exciting. It’s an important reminder of the significance of the Black voice in theater and due recognition of the brilliance of August Wilson.”
LaTanya Richardson Jackson directs the revival, which opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Oct. 12, 2022. The production was originally slated to run through Jan. 15 but received a two-week extension.
“The Piano Lesson” is produced on Broadway by Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman, Tom Kirdahy, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker.