Samuel L. Jackson Joins Broadway Revival Of The Piano Lesson, Could Become A Film

Samuel L. Jackson is set to join the cast of the Broadway revival of August Wilson's 1987 play "The Piano Lesson," according to Variety.  The play might also become a film with some of this cast.

The revival also stars John David Washington ("Tenet") and Danielle Brooks ("Peacemaker"). Jackson's wife, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, is helming the production in her directorial debut. A Tony Award-winning actress herself, Richardson Jackson is hitting a milestone with this production. She'll be the first woman to direct an August Wilson play on Broadway.

If you're not familiar with "The Piano Lesson" — and I'm only loosely familiar — it's the story of a Black family in Pittsburgh in 1936 who are trying to decide what to do with a family heirloom piano that has carvings from an enslaved ancestor. The character of Boy Willie (Washington) is a sharecropper who wants to sell the piano to buy land where his ancestors were enslaved. His sister Berniece (Brooks) feels that this piano is a symbol of her past and the family's struggles and triumphs. The story looks at how families view their history, painful or not, and what they want or need to leave behind to move forward. 

Jackson originated the role of Boy Willie at Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987, and was an understudy for the 1990 Broadway production of "The Piano Lesson." In this version, he'll play the role of Doaker Charles, the uncle of Berniece and Boy Willie. Doaker Charles understands why Berniece needs this connection to her past, and what she's struggling with. 

"The Piano Lesson" won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1990. It's part of August Wilson's "The Pittsburgh Cycle," a series of 10 plays about the events of the 20th century. The production will begin on Monday, September 19, 2022, at the St. James Theatre in New York.

LaTanya Richardson Jackson will be the first woman to direct a Wilson play on Broadway

Back in September of 2020, John David Washington's father, Denzel (perhaps you've heard of him), was said to be planning a film version of this play on Netflix with Jackson and Washington the younger, according to TheaterMania. So "The Piano Lesson" could be the next August Wilson Pittsburgh cycle play-to-film adaptation from Denzel Washington, who directed and starred in "Fences" in 2016 and produced "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" in 2020. 

On Sunday, March 27, 2022, Jackson received an Honorary Oscar for his work through the years in films like "Pulp Fiction," "A Time to Kill," "Django Unchained," "The Incredibles," "Eve's Bayou," "Die Hard: With a Vengeance," and both the "Star Wars" franchise and pretty much the entire MCU, to name just a few.

"The Piano Lesson" was made into a film for television by Hallmark Hall of Fame, airing on CBS in 1995. It starred Charles S. Dutton, Courtney B. Vance, and Alfre Woodard. Jackson is currently starring in the Apple TV+ series "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey." He was last seen on the Great White Way back in the 2011 Broadway run of "The Mountaintop" opposite Angela Bassett.