Dmae Roberts talks with director Kevin Jones and actress Chantal DeGroat about August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson about to open at Portland Playhouse.  Tune in for an insightful talk about this sixth production of Wilson’s American Century Cycle that opens the 7th season of Portland Playhouse. ​We’ll hear about the play as well the August Wilson Red Door Project, an organization with a mission to change the racial ecology of Portland that Jones co-founded and now runs as artistic director.

Some highlights from the show:

–How performing August Wilson is just as challenging as Shakespeare.

–A great emotionally riveting monologue performed by Chantal from “The Piano Lesson.”

–A prison worksong from “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.”

–Generational differences in understanding the history of Wilson’s plays.

–Chantal through working this play found acceptance as a mixed-race African American woman.

–Kevin talks about  theatre diversity not as a “race issue” but as a conversation about how theatres need to change internally to evolve.

More Info about the play:

Chantal DeGroat & Kevin E. Jones
Chantal DeGroat & Kevin E. Jones
by August Wilson
Directed by Kevin Jones
Portland PlayHouse at The Church |602 NE Prescott St,  Portland, OR 97211
Performance Dates: September 24-November 2, 2014
Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2pm, Tuesday at 7:30pm (October 21 and 28 only), Sunday at 7:00pm (October 12 and 19 only)
Actor talkback: October 5 following the 2pm performance.

Tickets:$24-$48, Box Office: 503-488-5822. For more info:

Winner of the Pulitzer, Tony, and Peabody awards when it premiered in 1990, The Piano Lesson transports us to post-Depression, Great Migration-era Pittsburgh in 1936. Boy Willie returns home with a plan to sell his family’s heirloom piano in order to buy himself a piece of land. But his sister Berniece (played by Chantal DeGroat) won’t let this storied instrument and all the memory, pain, and sacrifice it contains, leave the Charles family.the-piano-lesson-by-romare-bearden
The Piano Lesson features one of the strongest female characters in Wilson’s plays  and asks the profound question of what one does with family and cultural legacy. You can always here Stage & Studio at: