Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Tantallon Community Players The Piano Lesson

By • Feb 26th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Tantallon Community Players’ production of The Piano Lesson [MP3 4:06 1.9MB].

The Piano Lesson
Tantallon Community Players
Hartmony Hall Arts Center, Ft. Washington, Maryland
$15/$12 Students and Seniors
Through March 2nd

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio review of The Piano Lesson, performed by the Tantallon Community Players in Fort Washington, Maryland. Mike and I saw the performance on Sunday afternoon February 24th, 2008.

Mike: This was a fairly solid production. There were a few minor flaws, but I think the cast covered them pretty easily.

Laura: This was a good solid performance. There was drama, comedy, music, and singing. It was a good solid show.

Mike: The Piano Lesson is a play by August Wilson, set in 1930’s Pittsburgh. Boy Willie, a sharecropper from the South, wants to sell his family’s ancestral piano to buy land. His Pittsburgh sister Berniece insists on keeping the piano. The piano has the carved faces of their great-grandfather’s wife and son who were sold in exchange for the piano during the days of enslavement.

Laura: The role of Bern was played by Temple Fortson. She did a very good job. She took the role very seriously. She was very up front and willing to speak her mind, especially when she thought things should be changed like her relationship with her brother Boy Willie. She had some really good scenes with the two of them and was ready to duke it out.

Mike: Doaker, Berniece and Boy Willie’s Uncle, was played by Elliott Hill. Doaker wsn’t going to put up with ny nonsense in his house. Hill made the character funny and comfortable, especially when meeting different family members that kept showing up at his door step. He also had a serious air when fights were happening about the piano and I liked that he was able to maintain control in the household.

Laura: Boy Willie, Berniece’s brother, was played by Donte Morison. He was quite the character. He wanted to sell the piano and the only reason he wanted to sell the piano was because he wanted to buy some land that he felt rightfully belonged to him. And he wasn’t going to let anything stand in his way despite Berniece’s feeling in the matter.

Mike: Lymon, Boy Willie’s friend, was played by Jivon Lee Jackson. He did a really good job as the sidekick to Boy Willie. He would jump whenever Boy Willie would give a command. He was also very scared. The first time Sutter’s Ghost appeared Jackson got a great laugh when he was protecting the family by hiding behind the couch. His naivete when he was being taken advantage of by Wining Boy (played by Lovelle Golden) was priceless. I really enjoyed those scenes.

Laura: I really enjoyed the lighting for The Piano Lesson. Lighting Designer was Jeffery Scott Auerbach. In the early morning scenes, I think the first scene of the show, it was about 5 am when Boy Willie came in. They had the lights down. Then later on in the evening they had them down again. I liked the transition because it helped set the mood and the tone of the show.

Mike: The set was designed by the show’s director, Richelle “Rikki” Howie. It was nicely done. It was the livingroom and dining room/kitchen area of Doaker and Berniece’s home. We interviewed Rikki a few weeks go. She did talk about some of the problems she had of finding accurate prop pieces and other set pieces for a 1930’s set. I think they did a great job, although maybe it was a little simplistic in places. I liked the old books, the clock on the wall. It seemed like everything was very well chosen.

Laura: The Piano Lesson ran two hours and forty minutes with one intermisson. It is playing for one more weekend. Friday and Saturday at 8 and the Sunday matinee at 2 pm at the Harmony Hall Performing Arts Center in Fort Washington, Maryland.

Mike: If you go see this show, we’d love to hear your thoughts about it. Simply leave a comment here on our website We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list to get more information about what’s happening in DC are community Theater.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • Berniece: Temple Fortson
  • Doaker: Elliott Hill
  • Boy Willie: Donté Morrison
  • Lymon: Jivon Lee Jackson
  • Avery: Quentarius Wade
  • Wining Boy: Lovelle Golden
  • Maretha: Monique Gross
  • Grace: Natasha Owens
  • Willa Bryant: Yvonne Epps-Giddings
  • Mamma Ola: Yvonne Epps-Giddings
  • Ghosts, Crawley: Art Greene


  • Director: Richelle “Rikki” Howie
  • Producers: Charla Rowe and Jung Weil
  • Stage Manager: Robin Rouse
  • Music Direction: Charla Rowe
  • Set Design: Richelle “Rikki” Howie
  • Costume Design: Charla Rowe and Cast
  • Hair and Make Up: Cast
  • Light Design: Jeffrey Scott Auerbach
  • Sound Design: Ed Mormon
  • Sound and Light Operators: Harmony Hall Staff
  • Set Construction: George Roff and Mark Holt
  • Assisted by: Geoff Rake, Rick Pica, Karl Weaver
  • Set Painting and Dressing: Marilyn Weaver
  • Properties: Jung Weil assisted by Janice Bean
  • Publicity: Jung Weil
  • Program: Jo Rake
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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