Samuel L. Jackson, John David Washington to Lead Cast of Netflix’s ‘The Piano Lesson’ Adaptation

The cast of the Netflix film, The Piano Lesson, L-R Samuel L. Jackson, John David Washington, Danielle Deadwyler, Ray Fisher, Corey Hawkins, Michael Potts (Credit: Shutterstock)

After a successful run on Broadway, Samuel L. Jackson and John David Washington will reprise their roles in an upcoming film adaptation of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.

Netflix announced details on the film Thursday. The star-studded cast includes Ray Fisher and Michael Potts who had roles in the recent stage version of the play. They’ll be joined by Danielle Deadwyler (Till) and Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton).

Set in 1936 Pittsburgh during the aftermath of the Great Depression, The Piano Lesson follows the lives of the Charles family and their prized heirloom piano, which is decorated with designs carved by an enslaved ancestor.

Written in 1987, the Pulitzer Prize-winning work is part of Wilson’s 10 play “American Century Cycle” on the Black experience in the 20th Century, which also includes Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Related Story: ‘Man on Fire’ TV Adaptation Coming to Netflix 

The film version of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was released on Netflix in 2021. The movie received five Academy Award nominations and won two Oscars (Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design).

In 2010, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the revival of August Wilson’s Fences on Broadway, with both winning Tony Awards.

In 2016 Washington directed and starred alongside Davis in the Paramount Pictures film adaptation of Fences, which received 3 Academy Award nominations and picked up a Best Supporting Actress win for Davis.

The stage revival of The Piano Lesson recently concluded its run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City.

It was the highest grossing revival of a play on Broadway and the highest grossing August Wilson production on Broadway ever, according to Broadway World. Danielle Brooks and Trai Byers also starred in the revival, which was directed by LaTanya Richardson Jackson.

The play first debuted at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987 and starred Samuel L. Jackson as Boy Willie, a role John David Washington played on Broadway.

The Netflix adaptation was first announced in 2021, and will be produced by Denzel Washington and Todd Black. Malcolm Washington will direct from a screenplay he’s co-writing with Virgil Williams.

A TV movie based on the play aired on CBS on 1995, and starred Charles S. Dutton, Alfre Woodard, Carl Gordon, Tommy Hollis, Lou Myers, and Courtney B. Vance. It was produced by under the Hallmark Hall of Fame banner.