COMPLETE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR AUGUST WILSON’S “THE PIANO LESSON”
FOR RELEASE ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2022
COMPLETE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM
THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED BROADWAY PRODUCTION
PULITZER PRIZE®-WINNING DRAMA
PERFORMANCES BEGIN SEPTEMBER 19TH
AT THE ETHEL BARRYMORE THEATRE
SAMUEL L. JACKSON
JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON
LaTANYA RICHARDSON JACKSON
**17 WEEKS ONLY**
New York, NY – Producers Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman, Tom Kirdahy, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker announced today the complete cast and creative team for the first Broadway revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (243 West 47th Street). Joining the cast are Nadia Daniel and Jurnee Elizabeth Swan, who will alternate the role of Marthea. Rounding out the company are Shirine Babb, Charles Browning, Peter Jay Fernandez, Sharina Martin, Warner Miller, Doron JePaul Mitchell and Kim Sullivan.
Joining the creative team are Tony Award nominee Jeff Sugg (Projection Design), and Tony Award winner Jason Michael Webb (Music & Music Direction), who will be composing new music for the production.
Performances for The Piano Lesson will begin on Monday, September 19, 2022. The official Opening Night will be announced at a later date.
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To download key art, click HERE.
The Piano Lesson will be directed by Tony Award® nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson – who is making her Broadway directorial debut and will be the first woman to ever direct an August Wilson play on Broadway. The show stars Samuel L. Jackson as Doaker Charles, Danielle Brooks as Berniece, and John David Washington as Boy Willie. The cast also features Trai Byers as Avery, April Matthis as Grace, Ray Fisher as Lymon, and Michael Potts as Wining Boy.
August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, which premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987 and starred a then-39-year-old Samuel L. Jackson as Boy Willie, is the fourth play in the American Century Cycle. Three years later, a new production, starring Carl Gordon, Charles S. Dutton and S. Epatha Merkerson, opened at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, and soon transferred to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama, The Piano Lesson won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the Peabody Award and was nominated for the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play.
Wilson’s American Century Cycle chronicles the Black experience throughout the 20th Century over the course of ten plays – each set in a different decade. The Cycle consists of Jitney, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, King Hedley II, Gem of the Ocean, and Radio Golf. The Cycle includes five New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award winners, two Pulitzer Prize winners, and a Tony Award-winning Best Play.
The Piano Lesson is set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1936. A brother and sister are locked in a war over the fate of a family heirloom: a piano carved with the faces of their ancestors. Only by revisiting history can the siblings endeavor to move forward. The Piano Lesson, wrote Frank Rich in The New York Times, “has its own spacious poetry, its own sharp angle on a nation’s history, its own metaphorical idea of drama and its own palpable ghosts that roar right through the upstairs window of the household where the action unfolds. Like other Wilson plays, The Piano Lesson seems to sing even when it is talking.”
The design team for The Piano Lesson includes Tony Award winner Beowolf Boritt (Set Design), Tony Award nominee Toni-Leslie James (Costume Design), Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman (Lighting Design), Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Drama Desk Award nominee Cookie Jordan (Wig Design), Tony Award nominee Jeff Sugg (Projection Design), and Tony Award winner Jason Michael Webb (Music & Music Direction). Casting is by Calleri, Jensen, Davis. General Management is by Foresight Theatrical.
August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson is produced by Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman, Tom Kirdahy, Kandi Burrus and Todd Tucker, Hunter Arnold, Playing Field, Rupert Gavin, FBK/42nd Club, Mark Gordon Pictures, Alia Jones-Harvey, Marguerite Hoffman, Jay & Alix Jackman, Stephanie McClelland, James Nederlander, Marc & Carolyn Seriff, Syrinda Paige/Kevin Ryan, Jay & Cindy Gutterman/ Caiola Productions, Sal Al-Rashid/Jamie DeRoy, Erik A. King/In Fine Women, Van Kaplan/LuShawn Thompson, Jocelyn Moore/ Scott Delman, Thomas Swayne/ Cynthia J. Tong, Jean Doumanian/Fakston Productions, Brad Blume/ Cliff Hopkins, and Linda Rabin/ Dede Harris.
NADIA DANIEL (Marthea) is delighted to make her Broadway debut at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, in an August Wilson play, and with such a talented cast and creative team. She has appeared locally as Lucy in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and collaborated with Yonder Window Theatre Company. On television, she can be seen as 9-yr old Amira in “The Last O.G.” She thanks her family for their constant support of her interests and Mara Entertainment for this wonderful opportunity.
JURNEE ELIZABETH SWAN (Marthea). Jurnee, is a native NYC girl, who began her acting career at a very early age after attending an after-school theatre camp. At that moment, is when she decided that she wanted to do this forever. Being from NYC, Jurnee enriched her passion by submerging herself in plays. She has been cast in many theatre shows throughout NY. Cinderella, Peter Pan and Aladdin were most memorable to her. Jurnee also can be seen in national commercials and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”
SHIRINE BABB (u/s Berniece, Grace). Broadway: Macbeth (Lincoln Center), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Original Broadway Cast). Off-Broadway (select): TFANA: Timon of Athens, Merchant of Venice; Roundabout Theatre Company: Napoli, Brooklyn; Bedlam’s The Crucible; Bedlam’s Mary Stuart; WP Theatre: Aliens with Extraordinary Skills. Regional (select): Shakespeare Theatre Co.: Timon of Athens, Merchant of Venice; Kennedy Center: Measure + Dido; Roundhouse Theatre: School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (Helen Hayes Award); Shakespeare Festival St. Louis: Antony and Cleopatra (2015 Theatre Circle Award nomination); Folger Theatre: Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra; Huntington Theatre Company/Long Wharf Theatre: Disgraced (2015 Critics Circle Award nomination); Old Globe Shakespeare Festival: 2010/2011 seasons. International: Arcola Theatre (London): Widows. Television: upcoming new projects for Apple TV, “Iron Fist,” “I Love You…But I Lied,” “Blue Bloods,” “Madam Secretary.” Education/Training: East 15 Acting Conservatory UK: MA; USD/Old Globe PTAP: MFA.
CHARLES BROWNING (u/s Avery, Boy Willie, Lymon). Broadway: How I Learned to Drive. Off-Broadway: In The Southern Breeze (Rattlestick, 2019 Pulitzer Prize), Fairview (Soho Rep, TFANA, Berkeley Rep; Drama Desk nomination), Classical Theater of Harlem, Classic Stage Company, Gallery Players. Regional: LaJolla Playhouse (Here There Are Blueberries), Virginia Stage Company, Arrow Rock Lyceum, Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare. Television: Hulu’s “Monsterland.” Education: Columbia University (MFA), DePaul University.
PETER JAY FERNANDEZ (u/s Doaker Charles). Peter has enjoyed a long and multi-faceted career as an actor and educator. Broadway: All the Way, Cyrano DeBergerac, Henry IV, Julius Caesar, Jelly’s Last Jam, The Merchant of Venice. Off Broadway: Socrates, Red Speedo, Father Comes Home from the Wars, Seven Spots on the Sun, Othello, The Pain and the Itch, Macbeth, Thunder Knocking on the Door, The Winter’s Tale, Checkmates, As You Like It, and many more. Televison/Film: “The Equalizer,” “New Amsterdam,” “For Life,” “Luke Cage,” “Shades of Blue,” “Elementary,” “Blue Bloods,” “Law and Order(s),” “Royal Pains,” “House of Cards,” “The Good Wife,” The Irishman, Brawl on Cellblock 99, “Gotham,” and much more. Other August Wilson: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Audelco Award), Gem of the Ocean (Original cast, Black Theatre Alliance Nomination). Peter currently serves as Co-Head of Acting in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Graduate Division. God is Good.
SHARINA MARTIN (u/s Grace, Berniece). Off Broadway: Confederates (Signature Theatre/US), Round Table (59E59), The Talk, Showtime Blues, The Extinctionist (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Manhood, Untamed (National Black Theatre), The Beautiful Beautiful Sea Next Door (ArsNova). Regional credits include: Black Moon Lilith (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Doubt (Westport Playhouse; CT Critics Circle Award Best Featured Actress); Everybody Black (Humana Festival); Familiar (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co); A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre); Dracula (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Metamorphoses (Arden Theatre Company); All’s Well that Ends Well, Major Barbara (American Players Theater); Black Diamond, Fedra (Lookingglass Theatre); The Voysey Inheritance (Remy Bumpoo); Macbeth (Lady M, greasyjoan & co.). Other credits: Richard III (Boomerang Theatre Co), Heartbreaker (Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center). Film: Queen of Glory, Blind, Requited, Nowheresville, Happily After. Television: “Dear Edward” (Apple),” Z: The Beginning of Everything” (Amazon), “The Outs,” “Redrum” (Discovery ID), “In Between Men.” BTA Award Nomination, Best Actress. Training: Northwestern University, Steppenwolf Theatre, LAByrinth, Esper. Sharina is a proud member of Ensemble Studio Theatre.
WARNER J. MILLER (u/s Boy Willie; Avery) is a professional film, television and stage actor having appeared in numerous heaters across the country, including Off-Broadway and most recently in the Tony Award winning revival of Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play starring Blair Underwood and David Alan Grier. Recent television credits include the Netflix (formerly NBC) sci-fi drama, “Manifest” and the Amazon Prime dramedy, “Harlem,” starring Meagan Good. Other notable appearances include the Netflix series, “Marvel’s: Luke Cage” and HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Other television shows include “Chicago, P.D.,” “Law & Order” and “CSI:NY”. On the big screen, he’s appeared alongside Denzel Washington and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the film American Gangster.
DORON JEPAUL MITCHELL (u/s Lymon, Wining Boy) is an actor and writer. He made his Broadway debut in Aaron Sorkin’s critically acclaimed adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, alongside Jeff Daniels, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Latanya Richardson-Jackson and directed by Bartlett Sher. His works have included the Lincoln Center’s One Night Only Benefit Concert of Camelot featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s been featured in Good Men Wanted (NYSAF), soft (The New Black Fest), and The Fortress of Solitude. His film credits include Off-Broadway Award winning feature Testament (Best Featured Actor Nominee) Concrete Rose, Getaway (BET CRE8 Finalist), Night (Huffington Post Award film). Most recently, Doron can next be seen portraying African American inventor Lewis H. Latimer in film entitled, Let There Be Light. Writing credits include A Letter To… (playwright; world premiere, The National Black Theatre) and A History By: An upcoming anthology series (Level Forward Company). Doron has developed and cultivated film, plays and new works with New York Stage and Film, New York Theatre Workshop, The Lark, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Wheelhouse, BMI, Less Than Rent Theatre and Playwrights Horizons to name a few. All in all, Doron strives to never be tied down to one artistic medium, constantly pushing to inspire those around him to embrace all their gifts. He holds an MFA from NYU Graduate Acting Program. IG: @doronjepaul
KIM SULLIVAN (u/s Wining Boy; Doaker Charles). Mr. Sullivan has performed in all ten of the August Wilson plays. This marks the fifth production of The Piano Lesson. He has played Avery, Doaker and Wining Boy twice before. His most recent production was Gem of the Ocean, where he played Solly Two Kings at Theatreworks Silicon Valley in April and May of 2022. Since 2019 he has been touring in Switzerland, Portugal and France in Silence and Fear, the story of Nina Simone, playing her father, John Divine. Mr. Sullivan is honored to be a member of this company.
JEFF SUGG (Projection Design). Mr. Sugg is a Tony nominated designer and theater maker with over 25 years experience in the performing arts. Mr. Sugg has designed for a wide range of productions from Broadway to regional theater to international concert halls. Select theater credits include: Broadway: Mr. Saturday Night, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Broadway, Tour, Australia), Sweat, Bring It On, 33 Variations. London: Tina the Musical (West End), Jack Absolute Flies Again (National Theatre). His Off-Broadway and regional work has been seen at Second Stage, The Public, St. Ann’s Warehouse, BAM, Lincoln Center, Playwrights Horizons, NYTW, Steppenwolf, Arena Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, and dozens more. His work with music has included Julia Wolfe’s Fire In My Mouth, Flower Power, and her Pulitzer Prize–winning piece Anthracite Fields, Natalie Cole, and Prince’s final appearance on Saturday Night Live. Jeff Sugg is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award, Obie Award, Bessie Award, and two Henry Hewes Design Awards.
JASON MICAHEL WEBB (Music & Music Direction). Special Tony Award recipient and Drama Desk winner, Jason Michael Webb is a director, composer, lyricist, musical director, producer and arranger. From conducting orchestras in Broadway pits to writing and arranging music for a President’s inauguration, Jason has dedicated his life to using music to heal, uplift and encourage. Mr. Webb’s early musical training consisted of formal classical study, playing in small churches and obsessing about pop music. By 21, he had a degree in classical piano, played in the biggest churches in New York City and made his orchestral solo debut with the Queens Symphony. He then went on to become Musical Director of the six-time Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle, for whom Mr. Webb co-wrote and produced four albums for The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, leading to two Stellar Award nominations and a Dove Award win. His arrangement of BTC’s “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was featured at the 2013 inauguration of President Barack Obama and simultaneously heard by over one billion people worldwide. Mr. Webb is the composer for “The Ms. Pat Show” (BET+) (also produced its theme song, “Grown Ass Woman”) and wrote music/lyrics for Kenny Leon’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, which was filmed for PBS’ “Great Performances” series (Shakespeare in the Park, The Public Theater) (Music Supervisor/Incidental Music). His writing can also be heard on the hit TV series “Empire” (Fox), Netflix film “Juanita” (starring Alfre Woodard), recording projects and original musicals, including the new South African musical “WiLDFLOWER” (currently in development with National Black Theater/Apollo Theater). Mr. Webb received a 2019 Special Tony Award for “Outstanding Arrangements” in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s breathtaking acapella play Choir Boy (MTC). His work on Choir Boy also earned him a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Original Music. He was also nominated for a Tony Award for “Best Original Score Written for the Theatre” for Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo (Roundabout) and for “Best Orchestrations” for MJ. Joining forces with pop music icons Stephen Bray and Harvey Mason, Jr., Mr. Webb served as Executive Music Producer of Respect (MGM), the highly-anticipated 2021 film about the life of Aretha Franklin (starring Jennifer Hudson). Mr. Webb’s directorial debut, a 2021 film of the iconic Jason Robert Brown musical, The Last Five Years, was lauded by The New York Times as “inspiring”, “robust”, and “impressively freed by its physical and creative limitations.” He also served as Musical Director of the gorgeous Tony, Emmy and Grammy-winning 2016 Broadway Revival of The Color Purple, directed by John Doyle and based on the timeless novel by Alice Walker. Upcoming projects include Disney’s upcoming revival of AIDA (Music Supervisor/Arranger), and the eagerly anticipated “Beauty and the Beast” live-action prequel series at Disney+ (Musical Director/Arranger). Other credits include Associate Production Music Supervisor for The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox); Musical Director and Arranger/Adaptor for Disney’s Frozen: Live at the Hyperion (Anaheim, CA); and Associate Musical Director of Broadway shows including Berry Gordy’s Motown: The Musical, Alan Menken’s Leap of Faith and Jeanine Tesori’s Violet (also Additional Arrangements). Mr. Webb is currently the featured vocalist on the national jingle for Smile Direct Club, and has appeared as a Pianist onstage with Dame Shirley Bassey, Michael Bolton, Cece Winans, and Chaka Khan. He has conducted live and recording orchestras from New York to LA, including internationally acclaimed pianist Lang Lang’s 2016 love letter to NYC, “New York Rhapsody” (PBS), which featured performances by Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor and Suzanne Vega.
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