August Wilson's Pulitzer-winning play The Piano Lesson is being adapted for the screen with John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) and Samuel L. Jackson (The Mountaintop) attached to the Netflix production. The pair will reprise their roles the recent Broadway revival, with Washington starring as Boy Willie opposite Jackson as Doaker Charles.
Joining them in the film from the Broadway production are Ray Fisher (Rebel Moon) and Michael Potts (Jitney). Also announced for the film are Danielle Deadwyler (Till) and Corey Hawkins (Topdog/Underdog). Washington's brother Malcom Washington has adapted the play with Virgil Williams (Mudbound) for his screenwriting debut. The Piano Lesson will also be Malcolm Washington's debut as a director.
The recent Broadway revival opened October 13 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre under the direction of Tony nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson. 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.
Executive producing the film will be Constanza Romero, Jennifer Roth, and Katia Washington with Denzel Washington and Todd Black serving as producers. Denzel Washington starred in the film adaptation of Wilson's Fences, produced by Katia Washington, Denzel Washington, and Black. Denzel Washington, Black, and Romero produced the screen adaptation of Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
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 original production 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.
Check out photos of the Broadway revival below.