Grammy Award-winning artist Erykah Badu will make a cameo appearance with musical performances in the feature film adaptation of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, it was announced today.
Badu joins Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Avengers), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman, Tenet), Ray Fisher (Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Rebel Moon), Danielle Deadwyler (Till, The Harder They Fall), Michael Potts (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Rustin), and Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, The Tragedy of Macbeth) in the film, which is currently in production under the direction of Malcolm Washington, son of two-time Oscar winner and Tony winner Denzel Washington, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Virgil Williams.
Set in 1936 Pittsburgh during the aftermath of the Great Depression, The Piano Lesson follows the lives of the Charles family in the Doaker Charles household and an heirloom, the family piano, which documents the family history through carvings made by their enslaved ancestor.
The Piano Lesson is part of Wilson’s 10 play “American Century Cycle” and includes Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In 2010 Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the revival of August Wilson’s Fences on Broadway. They both won Tony Awards for their roles and in 2016 Washington directed and starred alongside Davis in the film adaptation of Fences which received three Academy Awards nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, and an Academy Award win for Davis. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was released globally on Netflix in 2021. The film received five Academy Award nominations (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Costume Design) and two Academy Award wins (Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design). Directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film starred Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Taylour Paige, Dusan Brown, Jeremy Shamos and Jonny Coyne.
The Broadway revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson starring Samuel L Jackson and John David Washington recently concluded its run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, having played 27 previews and 124 regular performances. The production is the highest grossing revival of a play on Broadway and the highest grossing Wilson production on Broadway ever and recently received two Tony nominations, for Best Revival of a Play and Best Performance By An Actor in a Featured Role In A Play for Samuel L. Jackson.
The feature film will be released by Netflix but no date has been announced.
Photo: Jordan Smith