Roundabout Theatre Company continues its 2019-2020 Broadway season with Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama A Soldier's Play, directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon and starring three-time Tony Award nominee David Alan Grier and two-time Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood.
A Soldier’s Play originally premiered Off-Broadway in November 1981, produced by the Negro Ensemble Company and boasted a cast that included Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. It would eventually pick up a plethora of accolades (including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and ran through January 1983. Fuller also adapted his script for the 1984 film “A Soldier’s Story” which earned three Academy Award nominations, including ‘Best Picture.’ Since then, it has been revived twice off-Broadway – by the Valiant Theatre Company in 1996 and by Second Stage Theater in 2005 – and now, thanks to Roundabout Theatre Company, A Soldier’s Play finally receives its long overdue Broadway premiere.
David Alan Grier takes on the role of Sergeant Vernon C. Waters on Broadway. A much beloved actor, Grier is perhaps best known for his comedic roles in the likes of “In Loving Color” and “Jumanji” and now turns his attention to this dramatic, pivotal role. Interestingly, Grier previously starred as Private C.J. Memphis Off-Broadway and as Corporal Cobb in the 1984 film adaptation and continues his shared history with the story’s legacy on stage. His co-star, taking on the role of Captain Richard Davenport, is Blair Underwood, who many will remember as Jonathan Rollins on “L.A. Law.” A regular on both the silver and small screen, Underwood has only appeared on the Broadway stage once before (in the 2012 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire) and hence A Soldier’s Play offers a rare opportunity to experience him show off his acting chops up close and personal.
These talented headliners are supported by Nnamdi Asomugha (as Private First Class Melvin Peterson) and Jerry O'Connell (as Captain Charles Taylor), alongside a terrific ensemble cast. Asomugha, a former NFL player, garnered great critical acclaim for his performance as Carl King in the 2017 film “Crown Heights” and O’Connell is a familiar face thanks to his diverse résumé that includes films from “Stand By Me” to “Jerry Maguire” to “Scream 2” and television series from “Sliders” to “The Defenders.”
A Soldier’s Play is a paramount and influential chapter of black history and representation. Don’t miss out on this crucial chance to be a part of the theatrical work taking its rightful spot in black Broadway history.
(Photos by Joan Marcus)