“Death of a Salesman” actor Wendell Pierce, “The Piano Lesson” director LaTanya Richardson Jackson and “Till” star John Douglas Thompson are among the honorees set for the inaugural Salute to Broadway presented by the African American Film Critics Association.
The event is set for Oct. 17 at The Lambs Club in the heart of Midtown’s theater district.
“It’s no secret that some of our greatest actors have come from the stage or have tested their chops on it,” said Gil Robertson, co-founder of AAFCA. “Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis are just a handful of our beloved icons for which this was true, with Tony winners Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Audra McDonald, Adrienne Warren and Myles Frost among those continuing that legacy. As a reliable pipeline for outstanding Black talent in front of the camera as well as behind it, Hollywood has benefited greatly from this esteemed training ground and AAFCA Salutes Broadway celebrates that rich heritage.”
Thompson, noted for his many Shakespearean roles, will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award. Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer-winning “Topdog/Underdog” — which starred Corey Hawkins and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and was directed by Kenny Leon in its first Broadway revival — is slated for the Spotlight Award.
Pierce, known for his work in the HBO series “The Wire” and “Treme,” 2014’s “Selma” and the Amazon Prime Video series “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” among many other roles, will receive the Beacon Award as he packs Broadway’s Hudson Theatre as the lead in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” Richardson Jackson will be feted with the Vanguard Award as she makes her Broadway directorial debut with August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson,” starring Samuel L. Jackson, who is her husband. The production, which began previews Sept. 19 and opens Oct. 13 at Ethel Barrymore Theatre, makes Richardson Jackson the first woman to direct a Wilson play on the Main Stem.
“The intersectionality that exists between the theater, TV and film communities needs to be celebrated,” says Debra Martin Chase, a producer of the Tony-winning “A Strange Loop” as well as the CBS drama “The Equalizer.” “I am absolutely thrilled that AAFCA continues to do the work of championing artists in these spaces.”
(Pictured: Wendell Pierce, LaTanya Richardson Jackson)