Producers of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson which concluded its smash Broadway engagement on January 29, 2023, has officially recouped its investment. Last season, The Piano Lesson remained the highest grossing revival of a play on Broadway, and played a total of 124 regular performances (and 27 previews). The Piano Lesson was directed by Tony Award® nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson – who made her Broadway directorial debut and was the first woman to ever direct an August Wilson play on Broadway.

The production starred Samuel L. Jackson (who received a Tony Award nomination for his performance) as Doaker Charles, John David Washington as Boy Willie, and Danielle Brooks as Berniece. The current cast also featured Trai Byers as Avery, Ray Fisher as Lymon, April Matthis as Grace, Michael Potts as Wining Boy, and Nadia Daniel and Jurnee Swan as Maretha.

 

August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, which premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987 and starred then-39-year-old Samuel L. Jackson as Boy Willie, is the fourth play in the American Century Cycle. Three years later, a new production, starring Carl Gordon, Charles S. Dutton, and S. Epatha Merkerson, opened at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and soon transferred to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama, The Piano Lesson won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the Peabody Award and nominated for the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play.

The Piano Lesson is set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1936. A brother and sister are locked in a war over the fate of a family heirloom: a piano carved with the faces of their ancestors.