The Piano Lesson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by August Wilson, will be making its grand return to the Broadway stage after over 30 years.
Per a press release provided to The Root, the drama premiered originally back in 1990 and starred a then 39-year-old Jackson in the role of Boy Willie. Set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1936, The Piano Lesson centers around “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.”
In this new iteration, Jackson will take on the lead role of Doaker Charles, with Tenet and Ballers star John David Washington set to take on the role of Boy Willie. Tony Award-winning actress Danielle Brooks (who’s also starring in the movie musical adaptation of The Color Purple next year) will also be joining along, starring as Berniece. Additionally, Jackson’s wife, LaTanya Richardson, will be at the helm of the play, thus making her Broadway directorial debut. She’s also made history as the first woman to ever direct an August Wilson play on Broadway (now that’s some Black HERstory I like to see! Go, Mrs. Jackson!).
Speaking on the news, Richardson Jackson said in a statement:
“August Wilson dedicated his life and devoted his talent to dramatizing our stories and our experience. 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.”
In other amazing and related news, over the weekend, Jackson himself received his first-ever honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards. Presented by his equally-renowned colleague and close friend Denzel Washington (yes, John David’s father), Jackson touched on his long career and thanked his wife, daughter, and the Academy for recognizing his talents after all these years.
“I got out there to entertain audiences the way Hollywood entertained me. Make them forget their lives for a few hours and be thrilled, awed, or excited at the big room where make-believe lives,” Jackson said in part, per People. “Thanks to every person who has ever bought a ticket to any movie I was in. It’s truly been an honor and a pleasure to entertain you,”
Piano Lessons, produced by Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman and Tom Kirdahy, will begin performances over 16 weeks beginning Monday, Sept. 19, 2022 at the St. James Theatre in New York. For more information on how to secure tickets, head on over to pianolessonplay.com.