See Which Notable Actors Have Starred in Past Productions of A SOLDIER'S PLAY

By: Jan. 22, 2020
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A Soldier's Play officially opened on Broadway on January 21 for a limited engagement at the American Airlines Theatre (227 West 42nd Street).

A Soldier's Play takes place in 1944, and follows the murder investigation of a black Sergeant on a Louisiana Army base. One tenacious investigator must race against his white leadership to unravel the crime before they unravel him.

This is the first time that Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece has come to Broadway. A Soldier's Play was first staged Off-Broadway by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1981, and again Off-Broadway in 1996 by The Valiant Theatre Company. The play was last revived Off-Broadway in 2005 by Second Stage Theatre. The original 1981 production of the play won, in addition to the Pulitzer Prize, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play and the Obie Award for Distinguished Ensemble Performance.

Directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, this production of A Soldier's Play stars David Alan Grier as Sergeant Vernon C. Waters, Blair Underwood as Captain Richard Davenport, Nnamdi Asomugha as Private First Class Melvin Peterson, Jerry O'Connell as Captain Charles Taylor, McKinley Belcher III as Private Louis Henson, Rob Demery as Corporal Bernard Cobb, Jared Grimes as Private Tony Smalls, Billy Eugene Jones as Private James Wilkie, Nate Mann as Lieutenant Byrd, Warner Miller as Corporal Ellis, J. Alphonse Nicholson as Private C. J. Memphis and Lee Aaron Rosen as Captain Wilcox.

Let's take a look at some of the notable actors who have stepped into these roles in the past...

A Soldier's PlayDenzel Washington

Denzel Washington starred as Private Peterson in the original Off-Broadway production of A Soldier's Play in 1981. Washington reprised the role for the 1984 film adaptation, A Soldier's Story. Denzel Washington is one of the most lauded stage and screen actor of his generation. His unforgettable performances have garnered him two Academy Awards, a Tony Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and countless other awards.

He received his first Academy Award for the historical war drama Glory (1989) and his second for the crime drama Training Day (2001). In addition, he has received Academy Award nominations for his performances in Cry Freedom (1987), Malcolm X (1992), The Hurricane (1999), Flight (2012), and August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences, in which he reprised his Tony Award-winning role opposite Viola Davis. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Mr. Washington. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017).

Other notable credits include, Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Crimson Tide (1995), Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), Remember the Titans (2000), Inside Man (2006), The Great Debaters (2007), and American Gangster (2007). Mr. Washington's professional acting career began in New York, where he performed in theatre productions such as Ceremonies in Dark Old Men and Othello. He rose to fame when he landed the role of Dr. Phillip Chandler in the NBC long-running hit television series "St. Elsewhere." His other credits include the television movies "The George McKenna Story," "License to Kill," and "Wilma." In 2016, he was selected as the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards.

A Soldier's PlaySamuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson starred alongside Denzel Washington as Private Louis Henson in the original 1981 Off-Broadway production. Samuel L. Jackson rose to fame in the early 1990s with films such as Goodfellas (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Amos & Andrew (1993), True Romance (1993), Jurassic Park (1993) and his collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino including Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Django Unchained (2012), and The Hateful Eight (2015).

Jackson has appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), A Time to Kill (1996), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), The Negotiator (1998), Deep Blue Sea (1998), Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), xx (2002), Snakes on a Plane (2006), Kong: Skull Island (2017) and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005).

His likeness was used for the Ultimate version of the Marvel Comics character Nick Fury. He has also played Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018), as well as the TV show Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Jackson has provided his voice to several animated films, television series and video games, including the roles of Lucius Best / Frozone in Pixar Animation Studios' films The Incredibles (2004) and Incredibles 2 (2018), Mace Windu in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), Afro Samurai in the anime television series Afro Samurai (2007), and Frank Tenpenny in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004).

A Soldier's PlayWood Harris

Wood Harris starred as Private First Class Melvin Peterson in the 1996 Valiant Theatre Company revival of A Soldier's Play Off-Broadway.

Wood Harris portrayed the drug kingpin Avon Barksdale on HBO's The Wire, cocaine dealer Ace in Paid in Full and high school football player Julius Campbell in the 2000 film Remember the Titans. He is also known for playing Brooke Payne on the BET miniseries The New Edition Story, and Barry Fouray on VH1 miniseries The Breaks.

A polished actor adept at a broad array of parts and types, Harris landed his first role in Jeff Pollack's urban-themed sports drama Above the Rim, starring opposite the late Tupac Shakur, Marlon Wayans, and Duane Martin. In 2000, he landed a lead in the Showtime telemovie Hendrix, a biopic of rock demigod Jimi Hendrix. Harris also had a key supporting part as Dion Warner (aka Dion Element) in Richard Kelly's "Southland Tales."

In 2012 Harris played Harold "Mitch" Mitchell in the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire alongside Blair Underwood, Nicole Ari Parker, and Daphne Rubin-Vega. In 2015, he reunited with The Wire cast member Michael B. Jordan for Creed, reprising the role in its sequel.

A Soldier's PlayAnthony Mackie

Anthony Mackie starred as Private First Class Melvin Peterson in the 2005, Second Stage Theatre revival Off-Broadway. Mackie is best known for playing Sam Wilson/Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He made his first appearance in in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and later in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019), and will be appearing in the upcoming Disney+ exclusive limited series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

In 2002, he was featured in Eminem's film debut, 8 Mile and was nominated for Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor for his role in Brother to Brother. His second nomination was for Best Supporting Actor at the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards for his role as Sergeant JT Sanborn in The Hurt Locker.

Mackie has also appeared in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Drowning Crow, McReele and Carl Hancock Rux's Talk, for which he won an Obie Award in 2002.

Mackie will be starring in the second season of Netflix's Altered Carbon in 2020.

A Soldier's PlayMike Colter

Mike Colter starred alongside Anthony Mackie in the 2005 Off-Broadway production of A Soldier's Play, as Private C.J. Memphis. Colter is best known for his role as Luke Cage in Marvel's Luke Cage (2016-2018), The Defenders (2017), and Jessica Jones (2015; 2019), all set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

He has also appeared in the television series The Good Wife (2010-2015), Malcolm Ward in Ringer (2011-2012), and Jameson Locke in the Halo franchise (2014-2015). Colter's first role was Big Willie Little in the film Million Dollar Baby.

In addition to A Soldier's Play, Colter appeared on stage in the Original Off-Broadway Production of The Drunken City at Playwrights Horizons in 2008.

A Soldier's PlaySteven Pasquale

Steven Pasquale starred as Captain Charles Taylor in the 2005 Off-Broadway production of A Soldier's Play.

Pasquale's theater credits include the upcoming Classic Stage Off-Broadway revival of Assassins, the original Broadway production of American Son, Lincoln Center original Broadway production of Junk, Encores! Off-Center revival of Assassins, Roundabout Off-Broadway production of The Robber Bridegroom, City Center Encores Off-Center production of The Wild Party, Lyric Opera of Chicago production of Carousel, original Broadway production of The Bridges of Madison County, Public Theater & Signature Theatre Company co-production of The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, original Broadway production of reasons to be pretty, Off-Broadway concert of Little Fish, New York concert of The Secret Garden, Off-Broadway production of Fat Pig, Off-Broadway production of Beautiful Child, original Off-Broadway production of A Man of No Importance, Off-Broadway production of The Spitfire Grill, Off-Broadway production of Spinning Into Butter and the Original Off-Broadway production of The Wild Party.

On screen, Pasquale is best known for his role as the New York City Firefighter/First Responder Sean Garrity in the series Rescue Me.

A Soldier's PlayTaye Diggs

Taye Diggs starred as Captain Richard Davenport in the 2005 Off-Broadway production of A Soldier's Play alongside Mackie, Colter and Pasquale.

Diggs currently stars as Billy Baker on The CW's All American. In 2015, Taye Diggs returned to Broadway in the title role of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. The appearance marked his first New York stage role since the 2005 revival of A Soldier's Play. He made his Broadway debut in 1994 in the Tony Award-winning revival of Carousel. Soon after, he landed the role of Benny in in the landmark musical Rent, a role he recreated in the 2005 film version. Diggs other New York stage credits include Chicago, Wicked, and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party.

His many film and television credits include Steven Bochco's crime drama "Murder in the First," How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Go, Chicago,The Best Man, its follow up The Best Man Holiday, and six seasons on ABC's hit drama "Private Practice."

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