Diahann Carroll Joins Denzel Washington in ‘Raisin in the Sun’ Revival
(Diahann Carroll at the Crystal + Lucy Awards in Beverly Hills on June 12, 2013.)
This, my dearest darling readers, is the stuff of my DREAMS! All my favorite actors on the stage at the same time?! Bliss. I was lucky enough to see Denzel Washington in his Tony Award winning role in August Wilson’s’ Fences (And I was right next to Halle Berry too, on opening night!), so I am happy to see him once again returning to the stage. Of course, Ms. Carroll needs absolutely NO introduction; to say I swoon over this woman would be putting it mildly. She has been such an inspiration. And Sophie and Anika too?! I can’t even handle it I adore them both.
For the past few years I have applauded Broadways attempt at diversifying the stage–at bringing together talented actors of color in popular and poignant plays. This, is what theater can be, what theater should be. I will never forget the first time (or second) I saw a play with an all Black (well, mostly) cast–I was in Stratford-Upon-Avon at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the summer I graduated from University (culturally diverse theater is QUITE difficult to come by here in the Midwest). They were showing Richard III and I sat in awe the entire time; so shocked that a play could and did have Black actors in starring roles; not neglected to the sidelines or the comic relief of any other stereotype we are often regulated to. It’s such a rare thing (which is incredibly sad), and the last thing I expected to see in the United Kingdom (perhaps I was not giving the UK as much credit as it deserved?). Most recently, I was lucky enough to attend the RSC’s all Black production of Julius Caesar, and that, too, changed my life forever. And speaking to the cast afterward only solidified that I am in the right business, I am doing the right thing–supporting the work of African-American artists; encouraging those that are unsure. Advocating for change, creating opportunities and providing guidance.
So, like the good little theater goer (fan girl) I am, I shall be sat there, opening night, beaming.
Official Playbill Announcement Below
Denzel Washington, who won the 2010 Tony Award for his performance in Fences, will star as Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry‘s A Raisin in the Sun, opposite film, television and Tony Award-winning stage star Diahann Carroll as Lena Younger, in her first Broadway appearance in over 30 years, producers for the production confirmed Aug. 1.
The production will be directed by Tony Award nominee Kenny Leon and begin March 8, 2014, prior to an official opening night April 3, 2014, at the Barrymore Theatre, where the original production of A Raisin in the Sun opened 55 years ago.
The revival will be a 14-week limited engagement through June 15, 2014.
The production will also star Academy Award nominee Sophie Okonedo (“Hotel Rwanda,” Broadway debut) as Ruth Younger, Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose (Caroline, or Change) as Beneatha Younger, Stephen Tyrone Williams (Lucky Guy) as Joseph Asagai, Jason Dirden (Fences) as George Murchison and Tony Award nominee Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences) as Bobo.
Okonedo is appearing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
Originally produced in 1959, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway, where it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.
Here’s how producer Scott Rudin bills the work: “Set on Chicago’s South Side, A Raisin in the Sun revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee (Washington), his wife Ruth (Okonedo), his sister Beneatha (Rose), his son Travis and matriarch Lena, called Mama (Carroll). When her deceased husband’s money comes through, Mama dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school. The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama.”
The classic Lorraine Hansberry drama was last seen on Broadway in 2004 starring Sean Combs.
Washington has also been seen on Broadway in Julius Caesar and Checkmates.