TRAI BYERS TO PLAY FINAL PERFORMANCE OF “THE PIANO LESSON” ON JANUARY 15
Rick Miramontez / Marie Bshara / Gerilyn Shur / Kendall Edwards / Bailey Everett
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FOR RELEASE ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2023
“THE PIANO LESSON” STARS
SAMUEL L. JACKSON
JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON
LaTANYA RICHARDSON JACKSON
New York, NY – Producers Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman, Tom Kirdahy, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker announced today the casting changes through the end of the extended run – by popular demand – on January 29, 2023.
On Sunday, January 15, Trai Byers will perform his final performance as ‘Avery’, with his understudy, Charles Browning, taking over the role. Ros Coleman will be joining the company as an understudy, as Shrine Babb departs as understudy.
The Piano Lesson remains the highest grossing revival of a play on Broadway.
The Piano Lesson is directed by Tony Award® nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson – who is making her Broadway directorial debut and is the first woman to ever direct an August Wilson play on Broadway, and stars Samuel L. Jackson as Doaker Charles, John David Washington as Boy Willie, and Danielle Brooks as Berniece. The current cast also features Michael Potts as Wining Boy, Ray Fisher as Lymon, April Matthis as Grace, and Nadia Daniel and Jurnee Swan as Maretha at alternating performances.
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.
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. 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 Beowulf 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), Alvin Hough Jr. (Music & Music Direction), Otis Sallid (Choreographer). Casting is by Calleri, Jensen, Davis. General Management is by Foresight Theatrical.
CHARLES BROWNING. Broadway: How I Learned To Drive. Off-Broadway: In the Southern Breeze at Rattlestick, 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning Fairview (Soho Rep, TFANA, Berkeley Rep; nominated for a Drama Desk for his role), 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.
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