Samuel L Jackson has marked his 74th birthday with a cake onstage after a Broadway performance.
The actor is currently starring in the Main Stem revival of The Piano Lesson at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. During the curtain call on Wednesday (21 December), Reverend Al Sharpton surprised him with a cake.
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Jackson’s wife, is directing the play, in which the actor stars alongside John David Washington (the son of Denzel Washington and star of Malcolm & Marie), Ray Fisher, Danielle Brooks, and Michael Potts.
Denzel Washington is producing the revival of the August Wilson play, which first showed in 1987 at the Yale Repertory Theatre and won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The play tells the story of a family heirloom – a piano decorated with designs by an enslaved ancestor. The piano leads to conflict in the Charles family household.
“On one side, a brother plans to build the family fortune by selling it. On the other, a sister will go to any length to keep it and preserve the family history,” the synopsis reads.
“Only their uncle stands in between. But even he can’t hold back the ghosts of the past.”
Jackon told Variety that living with Richardson Jackon makes it easier to work together as he is used to listening to his wife. Although they sometimes take their work home with them, it does not happen “a lot”, he said.
“We have other things on our plate to take care of and deal with,” he added. “We have lives.”
The production’s opening night was held on 13 October and marked Jackson’s first return to the Broadway stage in over a decade. He has previously played Martin Luther King Jr in The Mountaintop, which was performed at the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre in 2011.
This is not Jackson’s first time performing in The Piano Lesson, either. He originated the role of Boy Willie in 1987, which is now played by Washington, and went on to serve as the understudy to the role when the play went to Broadway.