Danielle Brooks appeared on the 3rd Hour of Today August 31 to chat with hosts Sheinelle Jones, Craig Melvin, and Dylan Dreyer about her "full-circle" moment with The Piano Lesson. The Tony nominee, who has also graced the Broadway stage in The Color Purple (a performance she's set to reprise in the upcoming film adaptation), will star in the upcoming revival of the August Wilson work alongside Samuel L. Jackson and John David Washington at Broadway's Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
When asked about her audition for The Juilliard School, Brooks spoke about her audition. "I performed Berniece from The Piano Lesson. I don't know what it is, every time I come on Broadway, it's some full-circle moment for me."
The performer will now be stepping into the role in the upcoming revival. "I auditioned for this piece for Juilliard and now I get to do it in totality. It was definitely meant to be."
The production is directed by Tony nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson and will begin performances September 19 with opening night set for October 13. Reflecting on joining the all-star cast, Brooks said, "It's a family dynamic, for sure. That's what this story is about. It's about family."
She added, "I'm just grateful that the Washingtons and the Jacksons have allowed me to be part of this family. The chemistry is crazy."
The Piano Lesson is the fourth in Wilson's Century Cycle, which explores the Black experience in every decade of the 20th century with such works as Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Jitney, among others. The work is set in Pittsburgh's Hill District in 1936, with a brother and sister embroiled in a battle over a family heirloom piano carved with the faces of their ancestors. The upcoming production will be its first Broadway revival.
The cast continues with Trai Byers, Ray Fisher, April Matthis, and Michael Potts, and Nadia Daniel and Jurnee Elizabeth Swan alternating the role of Maretha. Understudies will be Shirine Babb, Charles Browning, Peter Jay Fernandez, Sharina Martin, Warner Miller, Doron JePaul Mitchell, and Kim Sullivan.
The creative team consists of scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Scott Lehrer, and wig design by Cookie Jordan. Tony Award honoree Jason Michael Webb will compose new music for the revival.
August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson is produced on Broadway by Brian Anthony Moreland, Sonia Friedman, Tom Kirdahy, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker, Hunter Arnold, Playing Field, The Factor Gavin Partnership,FBK Productions/42nd Club, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Creative Partners Productions, Harris Rubin Productions, Marguerite Steed Hoffman, Alia Jones-Harvey, Mark Gordon Pictures, Stephanie McClelland, Moore Delman, James L. Nederlander, Seriff Productions, The Shubert Organization, Salman Al-Rashid/Jamie deRoy, Brad Blume/Cliff Hopkins, Jean Doumanian/Fakston Productions, Edqewood/DMQR Productions, Jay & Cindy Gutterman/ Rose & Luigi Caiola, Van Kaplan/LuShawn Thompson, Erik A. King/FineWomen Productions, Marc David Levine/William Frisbie, Syrinda ElizabethPaige/Kevin Ryan & Diane Scott Carter, Silva Theatrical Group/Tilted, and Thomas Swayne/ Cynthia J. Tong. Constanza Romero-Wilson serves as associate producer.