The Piano Lesson Broadway 2022

The Piano Lesson

August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson will be revived on Broadway with a star-studded cast in 2022. Samuel L. Jackson, John David Washington and Danielle Brooks will lead the cast of The Piano Lesson, playing at the St. James Theatre for 16 weeks only. The Piano Lesson tickets will be available on New York Theatre Guide soon.

The Piano Lesson is a play about family history and heritage, and how best to honor that heritage. It's 1936, and the two adult siblings of the Charles family cannot agree on what to do with a family heirloom: a piano that is hand-carved with the faces of their enslaved ancestors. Berneice (Brooks) insists on keeping the piano as a reminder of her ancestors and their hardships. But Willie (Washington), a sharecropper, wants to sell the piano and use the money to buy the land where their ancestors worked as slaves, believing the best way to honor them is to take back the land that their ancestors couldn't own in their own lifetime.

The already difficult decision gets further complicated when it appears that familial ghosts appear to haunt the Charles household. The siblings' living uncle, Doaker (Jackson), is on hand throughout the play as the storyteller. As an older family member, he possesses the most knowledge of the piano's — and the family's — storied history, which his niece and nephew are not always quick to share.

LaTanya Richardson Jackson directs the 2022 production, which is the play's first Broadway revival. The premiere production of The Piano Lesson on Broadway was in 1987 at Yale Repertory Theatre, with a younger Jackson playing Boy Willie alongside Carl Gordon as Doaker and Starletta DuPois as Berneice. After playing a second engagement at Huntington Theatre Company in Boston (with Charles S. Dutton in place of Jackson), that production moved to Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre in 1990 and played there for nine months.

Though the show lost out on the Best Play Tony Award, it did win the 1990 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play. The Piano Lesson also won the Peabody Award and earned Wilson his second Pulitzer Prize for Drama, after Fences in 1987.

The play is part of his Pittsburgh Cycle, a collection of 10 plays about Black American life that each take place in a different decade of the 20th century. All the plays in the cycle feature strong female characters (inspired by the values of Wilson's own mother) and are written in Black vernacular, and many include supernatural elements.

Tickets to The Piano Lesson will be available soon.

About The Piano Lesson:

Set in 1930s America, a family in Pennsylvania are deciding whether to sell a family heirloom in the midst of the Great Depression.

August Wilson
LaTanya Richardson Jackson
Cast list:
Samuel L. Jackson (as Doaker Charles), John David Washington (as Boy Willie), Danielle Brooks (as Berneice), Trai Byers (as Avery), Ray Fisher (as Lymon), April Matthis (as Grace), Michael Potts (as Wining Boy)
The Piano Lesson Performance Dates & Times
Previews from: 
September 19, 2022
January 8, 2023

St. James Theatre

246 West 44th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue), New York, NY 10036
Nearest subway station:
42nd Street - Port Authority Bus Terminal Station

Latest The Piano Lesson News & Features

The Piano Lesson
'The Piano Lesson' sets additional Broadway casting
April 26, 2022

The Broadway revival of The Piano Lesson has announced additional casting for the production later this year. Trai Byers, Ray Fisher, April Matthis, and Michael Potts will join the show, which begins performances September 19 at the St. James Theatre. Byers has been cast as Avery, Fisher as Lymon, Matthis as Grace, and Potts as Wining Boy. They join the previously announced Samuel L. Jackson as Doaker Charles, Danielle Brooks as Berniece, and John David Washington as Boy Willie.

The Piano Lesson
'The Piano Lesson,' starring Samuel L. Jackson and Danielle Brooks, sets Broadway premiere
March 29, 2022

The first Broadway revival of August Wilson's Pulitzer-winning The Piano Lesson has set its dates and venue! The previously announced production, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Danielle Brooks, and John David Washington, will play a 16-week engagement at the St. James Theatre beginning September 19, 2022. Directing is Tony Award-nominated actor LaTanya Richardson Jackson, making her Broadway directorial debut and becoming the first woman to direct a Wilson play on Broadway.

Our The Piano Lesson Review

This is a production of substance and grace. It is stacked with relationships so layered and family history branches so deep and convoluted that you practically need hip boots to wade on in to this tale. And wade on in you will definitely want to do. No question about that.