Samuel L. Jackson, John David Washington to Co-Star in Broadway Revival of ‘The Piano Lesson’

Jackson’s wife LaTanya Richardson Jackson will direct the fall production of August Wilson’s acclaimed drama

Samuel L Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson and John David Washington are set to co-star in the Broadway revival of “The Piano Lesson,” producers Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman and Tom Kirdahy announced on Tuesday.

Jackson’s wife LaTanya Richardson Jackson will make her Broadway directorial debut and direct the fall production of August Wilson’s acclaimed drama, becoming the first woman to ever direct an August Wilson play on Broadway.

The fall production will star Jackson as Doaker Charles, Washington as Boy Willie, and Danielle Brooks as Berniece.

“The Piano Lesson” will begin performances on Monday, September 19, 2022, at the St. James Theatre.

“August Wilson dedicated his life and devoted his talent to dramatizing our stories and our experience,” 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.”

Producers Moreland, Friedman and Kirdahy added: “We are humbled and honored to return Mr. Wilson’s work to the Broadway stage under the inspirational LaTanya Richardson Jackson. After more than 30 years, The Piano Lesson is still adding to the ever-evolving conversation about family legacy. This production is coming back to Broadway at such an exciting time for our industry as we work to rebuild – and who better than Mr. Wilson to help us.”

“The Piano Lesson” is the fourth play in the American Century Cycle, which premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987, and starred a then-39-year-old Samuel L. Jackson as Boy Willie. Three years later, a new production, starring Carl Gordon, Charles S. Dutton and S. Epatha Merkerson, opened at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, and soon transferred to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama, “The Piano Lesson” won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the Peabody Award and was nominated for the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play.

“The Piano Lesson” is set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1936 and centers on a brother and sister who are locked in a war over the fate of a family heirloom: a piano carved with the faces of their ancestors. Only by revisiting history can the siblings endeavor to move forward.

The design team for “The Piano Lesson” includes Beowolf Boritt (Set Design), Toni-Leslie James (Costume Design), Japhy Weideman (Lighting Design), Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), and Cookie Jordan (Wig Design).