Revival of August Wilson’s ‘The Piano Lesson’ coming to Broadway
The Broadway revival of August Wilson's “The Piano Lesson” began previews on Monday.
The drama stars Samuel L. Jackson, who appeared in the first production of “The Piano Lesson” at Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987. But when the initial Broadway run was later cast, Jackson was devastated when he did not get the role.
"They asked me to be the understudy. I took the job, you know, not knowing how hard that would be or not knowing how painful it would be personally,” Jackson recalls. "I went into a big tailspin to the point that I ended up in rehab, which in turn led me to the success that I've had since then."
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Jackson is taking on a different role in the play this time, that of Doaker Charles, while the part he originated 35 years ago, Boy Willie (Doaker's nephew) is played by John David Washington - son of acting legend Denzel Washington.
"As an artist, selfishly I wanted to just learn as much as I can and to be the artist I'm trying to be, and I feel this is the path to do it" says Washington.
“The Piano Lesson” is set in the 1930s and the plot revolves around a dispute between a brother - Boy Willie - and sister Berniece, played by Danielle Brooks. The siblings quarrel over whether to sell an heirloom piano. The play is one of 10 written by Wilson called “The Century Cycle” about the African American experience in the 20th Century in his native Pittsburgh.
Watch interviews with cast members Danielle Brooks and Ray Fisher as well as Constanza Romero who is the widow of August Wilson whom she met during the show's 1987 debut at Yale Repertory Theatre, here: