Samuel L. Jackson is back on Broadway for the first time in a decade in “The Piano Lesson,” the new production of August Wilson’s play directed by Jackson’s wife, Latanya Richardson Jackson. In a main conversation in diverseThe busy Marvel movie star revealed his Business of Broadway breakfast for 2022, what he misses most about making regular stage appearances.
Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:
He said during the discussion, it is now available as part of the final episode of diverseTheater podcast, Stagecraft. “I love his energy, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m back. You turn on enough movies or you turn on enough TV or whatever, and you miss the people who applaud you. You miss feeling the transformation of that energy that’s happening. Because, you know, the fists and the ads and other people [on a film set], they do not care. …no one applauds you and says, “That was great!”
He also explained why he wouldn’t do more theatrical work, as much as he would like: “If theater pays like movies, I won’t make movies!”
also as part of diverse Keynote speaker, Latanya Richardson Jackson – the first woman to direct a Wilson play on Broadway – discussed how she’s approaching directing after a long career as an actress.
“I try to have a vision of what the playwright wrote but I didn’t necessarily see it,” she said. “My mentor, Douglas Turner Ward, told me that great playwrights write, and at the end of what they write, it’s not necessarily something they mean. He said that great writers are visited by spirits and that they write from this point of view, and it is the director’s job to see that. To see the other.”
Also available on the new episode of Stagecraft is a Broadway Breakfast Panel discussion with four of the producers performing on stage this season: Lee Daniels (“Ain’t No Mo”), Ken Davenport (“A Beautiful Noise”), LaChanze (“A Beautiful Noise”), “Topdog/Underdog,” “Kimberly Akimbo”) and Cindy Tolan (“Death of a Salesman”). Each spoke about the various career paths that led them to production, and outlined their production goals for Broadway.
“The theater is not for black people, unless you want to see Denzel or Viola cry, or Sam Jackson or something cool, or take my mom to see The Temptations—but this is not for my nephews” (“Empire,” “Precious”), Daniels said. “We have to find our space. I hope ‘Ain’t No Mo’ will make my cousins and nephews buy a pair of Nike sneakers, or go to Rihanna’s party—that they take this as seriously as Nike sneakers. I wish I could. I wished.” my luck!”
“Ain’t No Mo” star writer Jordan E. Cooper was part of another panel discussion at Breakfast, appearing alongside actor Crystal Lucas-Perry (“1776”) and Chris Wood (“Almost Famous”) . In that conversation, the three talked about Broadway’s efforts to be more inclusive and to make the practice room a safe place.
“This is a beautiful shift that we’ve taken as a community,” Cooper said. “To really look at the introspection of our mental health while we do the work we need to do.”
To listen to the full conversations, listen to the link above or download Stagecraft and subscribe to podcasting platforms including Apple PodcastAnd the spotify and the Broadway Podcast Network. New episodes of Stagecraft are released every two weeks.