LaTanya Richardson Jackson first saw August Wilson’s ‘The Piano Lesson’ in 1987 – it was the original production, at the Yale Repertory Theaterand of course she was going to see it, because her husband, Samuel L. Jackson, was in the cast.
This fall, Richardson Jackson will conduct a revival of the Pulitzer Prize Winner play, still with her husband in the cast, although in a different role.
The Broadway revival – the first since ‘The Piano Lesson’ arrived in 1990 – will feature Danielle Brooks and John David Washington as sister and brother at odds over whether to sell a piano on which the figures are carved. faces of their enslaved ancestors. Jackson will play their uncle, Doaker Charles (at Yale he played the brother).
Richardson Jackson will be the first woman to direct a Wilson play on Broadway. She is best known as an actress – in 2018 she originated the role of Calpurnia in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, and in 2014 she was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as Lena Younger in a cover of “A Raisin in the sun. This will be her first Broadway directing, but she has directed elsewhere, including a production of Wilson’s ” Two trains in motionat the True Colors Theater in Atlanta.
According to her, Richardson Jackson said in an interview that the play is about “the struggle of African Americans in this country to face up to what we’re up against.” She noted that her own ancestors had been enslaved and reluctant to talk about it, and she said she saw the tension within the Charles family as a way to explore “us in the face of it all”.
“I’m treating this like a ghost story — I’m shamelessly, shamelessly telling a ghost story,” Richardson Jackson said. “And these are the biggest ghosts that haunt us, that are part of our lives, that we carry around like an anvil. »
“The Piano Lesson” is part of a series of 10 pieces that Wilson wrote about African-American life; each is set in a different decade of the 20th century. “The Piano Lesson” is set in the 1930s and, like most plays, is set in Pittsburgh.
The revival is set to begin performances September 19 at the St. James Theatre; the race is expected to last 16 weeks.
Brian Moreland (“Thoughts of a Colored Man”), Sonia Friedman (“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”) and Tom Kirdahy (“Hadestown”) are producing. Moreland said the coin will be capitalized for around $6 million.
Producer Scott Rudin previously planned to stage a cover of ‘The Piano Lesson,’ featuring many of the same artists, but waived the rights when he stopped producing after being accused of bullying employees and collaborators. . Actor Denzel Washington, who is the father of John David Washington, last year told the Daily Mail he planned to produce a film adaptation, with the same stars, and with Rudin as co-producer; a spokesperson for Denzel Washington said the actor still plans to produce a film adaptation.
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