It would be easy for a director to lose control of the titanic forces simmering underneath the surface of the play, but Santiago-Hudson keeps them under control until the end, when they simply cannot be constrained. Presented by Signature Theatre Company at the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 W.
Some of Boy Willie’s convulsions in his final struggle are a bit over the top, and the special effects in the climactic scene are underwhelming.
Boy Willie wants to sell it so that he can buy back land in Mississippi, but Berniece refuses to let the piano go even though she never plays it.

The action reaches a thundering climax during a ritual of purification that shakes both the house and the family to its foundations. Dutton brought to the role of Boy Willie in the play’s original 1990 production, he more than makes up for it with vitality and sincerity. But these are only slight blemishes on a powerful production that does justice to Wilson’s profound writing and deserves a longer life on Broadway. Berniece and her brother have been at odds since her husband died in a botched lumber theft that was instigated by Boy Willie.

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