Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Piano Lesson: Samuel L. Jackson, John David Washington, Ray Fisher, and more join the Netflix adaptation

Netflix’s adaptation of August Wilson’s play, The Piano Lesson, casts John David Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, and more.

Netflix is turning August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Piano Lesson, into a new film starring an all-star cast. John David Washington (TenetAmsterdam) and Samuel L. Jackson (Django UnchainedCaptain Marvel) star in the upcoming drama, with Ray Fisher (Justice League), Danielle Deadwyler (TillThe Harder They FallStation Eleven), Michael Potts (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), and Corey Hawkins (The Tragedy of Macbeth). Washington’s brother, Malcolm Washington, will make his screenwriting and directorial debut on the project.

The story takes place in 1936 Pittsburgh, after the Great Depression. The Piano Lesson revolves around the Charles family in the Doaker Charles household and an heirloom, the family piano, adorned with carvings by an enslaved ancestor. Throughout the tale, a brother and sister argue about what to do with the piano. One wants to sell the priceless instrument, while the other wants to keep the artifact in the family.

Virgil Williams (Mudbound) and Washington adapted the screenplay, with Constanza Romero, Jennifer Roth, and Katia Washington executive producing. Denzel Washington and Todd Black will produce.

The Piano Lesson is part of Wilson’s 10-play “American Century Cycle,” which includes Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which have already been adapted for the screen thanks to Paramount and Netflix. Jackson and Washington bring the play to Netflix after completing a Broadway revival of the show at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. During the latest run, cast members performed The Piano Lesson for 27 previews and 124 regular engagements. Theatergoers rave about the production so much that it’s the highest-grossing Wilson production to hit Broadway. It’s also the most successful presentation of a play on the Great White Way this season.

Holding onto history can be a touchy subject for certain family members. While some fail to see the value in keeping memories close as a reminder of their roots, others feel money is the way to help a living family grow and prosper. The divide can lead to hurt feelings, buried emotions, and fights that could last generations. The Piano Lesson explores both sides of the argument, rousing ghosts and jangled nerves. Which side will you choose when The Piano Lesson comes to Netflix?

Originally published at

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