The first Broadway revival of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Danielle Brooks, and John David Washington, officially opened October 13 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, and the reviews are rolling in. Tony nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson directs the 17-week engagement, which began previews September 19. Watch the opening night curtain call above.
Set in Pittsburgh's Hill District in 1936, The Piano Lesson follows a brother and sister who are embroiled in a battle over a family heirloom piano carved with the faces of their ancestors. It is the fourth play in Wilson's Century Cycle, which explores the Black experience in every decade of the 20th century; other works in the cycle include Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Jitney, among others.
The cast stars Jackson as Doaker Charles, Washington as Boy Willie, Brooks as Berniece, Trai Byers as Avery, Ray Fisher as Lymon, April Matthis as Grace, Michael Potts as Wining Boy, and Nadia Daniel and Jurnee Swan alternating in the role of Maretha.
Rounding out the company as understudies are Shirine Babb, Charles Browning, Peter Jay Fernandez, Sharina Martin, Warner Miller, Doron JePaul Mitchell, and Kim Sullivan.
Read the reviews here.
Chicago Tribune (Chris Jones)*
Did They Like It? (Juan Michael Porter II)*
Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney)
Los Angeles Times (Charles McNulty)*
The New York Post (Johnny Oleksinski)
New York Stage Review (Frank Scheck)
New York Stage Review (Melissa Rose Bernardo)
New York Theater (Jonathan Mandell)
New York Theatre Guide (Joe Dziemianowicz)
The New York Times (Maya Phillips)*
Wall Street Journal (Charles Isherwood)*
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Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.
The creative team also includes Tony-winning music director Jason Michael Webb, who composed new music for the revival, Tony-winning set designer Beowulf Boritt, Tony-nominated costume designer Toni-Leslie James, Tony-nominated lighting designer Japhy Weideman, Tony-winning sound designer Scott Lehrer, Drama Desk-nominated designer Cookie Jordan, Tony-winning projection designer Jeff Snug, and choreographer Otis Sallid. Casting is by Calleri, Jensen, Davis, and general management is by Foresight Theatrical.
The Piano Lesson premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre with a then-39-year-old Jackson as Boy Willie. In 1990, the play was staged at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, and subsequently transferred to Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama received Tony nominations for Best Play, Best Direction of a Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play, Best Actor in a Play, and Best Featured Actress in a Play.
August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson is produced on Broadway by Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman, Tom Kirdahy, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker, Hunter Arnold, Playing Field, The Factor Gavin Partnership, FBK Productions/42nd Club, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Creative Partners Productions, Harris Rubin Productions, Marguerite Steed Hoffman, Alia Jones-Harvey, Mark Gordon Pictures, Stephanie McClelland, Moore Delman, James L. Nederlander, Seriff Productions, The Shubert Organization, Salman Al-Rashid/Jamie deRoy, Brad Blume/Cliff Hopkins, Jean Doumanian/Fakston Productions, Edqewood/DMQR Productions, Jay & Cindy Gutterman/ Rose & Luigi Caiola, Van Kaplan/LuShawn Thompson, Erik A. King/FineWomen Productions, Marc David Levine/William Frisbie, Syrinda ElizabethPaige/Kevin Ryan & Diane Scott Carter, Silva Theatrical Group/Tilted, and Thomas Swayne/ Cynthia J. Tong. Constanza Romero-Wilson serves as associate producer.