Danielle Brooks, currently starring in the first Broadway revival of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, has tested positive for COVID. While Brooks is sidelined for the next week, Brooks' understudy Shirine Babb will step into the role of Berniece Charles through October 23.
Brooks announced being COVID-positive on Instagram saying, "the COVID monster got me."
Brooks continues to talk about audience masking in her post. "Even though masks are not required in theatres, I would encourage you to still take precautions and wear your mask."
The Piano Lesson officially opened October 13 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre after beginning previews September 19. The cast also stars Samuel L. Jackson and John David Washington, along with Trai Byers, Ray Fisher, April Matthis, Michael Potts, Nadia Daniel, and Jurnee Swan under the direction of Tony nominee LaTanya Richardson. Shirine Babb, Charles Browning, Peter Jay Fernandez, Sharina Martin, Warner Miller, Doron JePaul Mitchell, and Kim Sullivan round out the cast as understudies.
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. It is the fourth play in Wilson's Century Cycle, which explores the Black experience in every decade of the 20th century; other works in the cycle include Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Jitney, among others.
The creative team also includes Tony-winning music director Jason Michael Webb, who composed new music for the revival, Tony-winning set designer Beowulf Boritt, Tony-nominated costume designer Toni-Leslie James, Tony-nominated lighting designer Japhy Weideman, Tony-winning sound designer Scott Lehrer, Drama Desk-nominated designer Cookie Jordan, Tony-winning projection designer Jeff Snug, and choreographer Otis Sallid. Casting is by Calleri, Jensen, Davis, and general management is by Foresight Theatrical.