‘The Piano Lesson’ is back on Broadway, starring Samuel L. Jackson

By Alicia Powell

NEW YORK (Reuters) -American playwright August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson” is returning to Broadway, with Samuel L. Jackson starring and his wife directing.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning work, set in 1936, tells the story of a brother and sister battling over what to do with an heirloom piano that has images of their family carved by an enslaved ancestor.

LaTanya Richardson Jackson, in her Broadway directing debut, has a more literal take on the story than her predecessors.

“I think that the men have shied away or they wanted to make this such a metaphor. And I’m like, oh, no, I’m telling a ghost story,” she said.

Samuel Jackson, playing Doaker Charles, returns to the work after playing the character’s nephew Boy Willie in its first production at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987.

“By the time the play traveled and came back to Broadway and I was an understudy, I was pretty much devastated that I wasn’t going to make my Broadway debut,” the actor said.

“Drowning myself in a drug-fueled kind of craziness and ended up in rehab, which, you know, started a whole ‘nother journey for me.”

John David Washington, making his Broadway debut as Boy Willie, is dealing with many different feelings, he said. “I’m extremely excited to walk that stage and present this play the best, the best way I can.”

The show, which also stars Danielle Brooks, begins previews on Sept. 19.

(Reporting by Alicia Powell; Editing by Richard Chang)