Danielle Brooks, John David Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson – the recent recipient of an honorary Oscar at the 2022 Governor’s Awards – have been cast to star in the upcoming revival of The Piano Lesson.
The fourth play in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, The Piano Lesson follows a brother and sister pitted against one another in Pittsburgh’s Hill District during 1936 over the fate of a family heirloom — a piano carved with the faces of their ancestors. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this new revival will mark Washington’s Broadway debut with his portrayal of Boy Willie – the same role Samuel L. Jackson played 35 years ago at the Yale Repertory Theatre.
LaTanya Richardson Jackson is set to direct The Piano Lesson, in what will be her Broadway directorial debut. This makes her the first woman to direct a Wilson play on the Broadway circuit.
“August Wilson dedicated his life and devoted his talent to dramatizing our stories and our experience,” the Tony Award-nominated Richardson Jackson said in a statement. “In doing so, he forever changed what it means to be Black in America. His plays built empathy, created community and showed us the power of representation. The Piano Lesson is one of his most enduring, profound and consequential masterpieces, and I am reveling in this opportunity to present it to Broadway audiences for the first time since its premiere.”
Alongside Washington, Brooks will star as his sister Berniece, with Jackson starring as their uncle Doaker Charles. Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman, and Tom Kirdahy will serve as producers. Beowolf Boritt is the production’s set designer, with costumes by Toni-Leslie James, lighting by Japhy Weideman, sound by Scott Lehrer, and wigs by Cookie Jordan. The company of Calleri Jensen Davis will head the play’s casting.
The Broadway revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson will begin on September 19 at the St. James Theater. The show will run for 16 weeks.