In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023, Playbill partnered with Accenture and Howard University to bring leaders and trailblazers from the African American and Black communities and Howard students to a recent performance of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, currently enjoying a Broadway revival at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre through January 29.
Following the January 8 special performance, two-time Tony winner Phylicia Rashad sat down with the production's director, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and members of the company—including Samuel L. Jackson, John David Washington, Michael Potts, April Matthis, and more—for a powerful panel exploring how actions speak in the arts and in business. The panel was also joined by Accenture North America CEO Jimmy Etheredge. See photos from the special event below.
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. Tony nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson, the first woman to direct an August Wilson play on Broadway, helms the production.
The company of The Piano Lesson also includes Charles Browning, Rosalyn Coleman, Danielle Brooks, Ray Fisher, Nadia Daniel, Jurnee Swan, Peter Jay Fernandez, Sharina Martin, Warner Miller, Doron JéPaul Mitchell, and Kim Sullivan.
Wilson's play made its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987 (with Samuel L. Jackson starring as Boy Willie). In 1990, the play was staged at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, and subsequently transferred to Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama received Tony nominations for Best Play, Best Direction of a Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play, Best Actor in a Play, and Best Featured Actress in a Play.