Academy award recipient Samuel L. Jackson visited The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon November 18 to promote a myriad of projects he is currently working on, including the Broadway revival of The Piano Lesson.
In between Marvel secrets and Star Wars lightsaber battles, Jackson shared how the revival, now playing through January 29 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, is a full circle moment in his career.
"I was the original Boy Willie in the first production at Yale, 30-some years ago. Now I get to do the rest—and do nothing!"
Jackson made his Broadway debut in 1990 original Broadway production of The Piano Lesson, understudying Boy Willie and Lymon after originating the role of Boy Willie in 1987 as a member of the Yale Repertory Theatre, where August Wilson premiered the work.
The current Broadway revival stars Jackson, John David Washington, and Danielle Brooks, alongside Trai Byers, Ray Fisher, April Matthis, Michael Potts, Nadia Daniel, and Jurnee Swan. Shirine Babb, Charles Browning, Peter Jay Fernandez, Sharina Martin, Warner Miller, Doron JéPaul Mitchell, and Kim Sullivan serve as understudies.
Set in Pittsburgh's Hill District in 1936, The Piano Lesson follows a brother and sister who are embroiled in a battle over a family heirloom piano carved with the faces of their ancestors. It is the fourth play in Wilson's Century Cycle, which explores the Black experience in every decade of the 20th century; other works in the cycle include Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Jitney, among others.
LaTanya Richardson Jackson is at the helm for the revival, and is the first woman to direct an August Wilson play on Broadway. The creative team also includes Tony-winning music director Jason Michael Webb, who composed new music for the production, Tony-winning set designer Beowulf Boritt, Tony-nominated costume designer Toni-Leslie James, Tony-nominated lighting designer Japhy Weideman, Tony-winning sound designer Scott Lehrer, Drama Desk-nominated designer Cookie Jordan, Tony-winning projection designer Jeff Snug, and choreographer Otis Sallid. Casting is by Calleri, Jensen, Davis, and general management is by Foresight Theatrical.