Charles Fuller’s seminal theatrical work, “A Soldier’s Play” — which won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was adapted into an the 1984 Academy Award-nominated film — will finally see the light of day on The Great White Way.
On Monday, the Roundabout Theatre Company announced it will produce the critically acclaimed play for the new year, with Tony Award winner Kenny Leon helming the production. It will star three-time Tony Award nominee David Alan Grier and two-time Golden Globe Award nominee Blair Underwood.
Originally produced off Broadway in 1981 through the Negro Ensemble Company, “A Soldier’s Play” will begin previews on Dec. 27 at Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre.
With a cast that included Adolph Caesar, Denzel Washington, Larry B. Riley, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Friedman and Charles Brown, the original production also won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and Obie Awards for Best Play.
The work takes place during World War II in 1944 when a black master sergeant is murdered on a Louisiana Army base, and a black investigator is sent in to unravel the crime before his racist white counterparts unravel him.
In 1984, Norman Jewison adapted it for the big screen under the title “A Soldier’s Story.” The film starred Howard Rollins, Washington, Robert Townsend, William Allen Young, Patti LaBelle and Casear in an Oscar-nominated performance.
Grier, most recently seen on HBO’s “Native Son,” appeared in the original stage production and the film version, which netted Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Film and Best Screenplay.
The former star of the original company of “Dreamgirls,” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” will take on the role of Sergeant Vernon C. Waters, which was immortalized by Caesar.
In 2005, the Second Stage Theatre company revived the play Off-Broadway featuring James McDaniel, Anthony, Mike Colter, Dorian Missick, Steven Pasquale and Taye Diggs.