*Tony Award winners Diahann Carroll and Denzel Washington will play mother and son on Broadway in a spring revival of the classic American play “A Raisin in the Sun,” an opportunity they are both happy about.
“I think it’s one of our most original plays and I think that’s why it keeps coming back,” said Carroll. Washington, agreed: “It’s one of those classics.”
The play will begin previews March 8 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and opening night will be April 3. Kenny Leon, who directed Washington on Broadway to a Tony in “Fences,” will helm the production.
Both Carroll and Washington admitted to the Associated Press about having a few reservations about doing an eight-show week. This is Carroll’s return to Broadway after 30 years but “once you’re into the flow of it, it becomes a life style.” Washington, who is currently filming “The Equalizer,” said theater and film were both tests of endurance.
“While you’re sleeping tonight, I’ll be running around on the street of Boston so I don’t take that lightly,” he said. “I don’t think eight-shows-a-week is necessarily harder, but the energy I get from the audiences, you don’t get that on a film.”
Set in the late 1950s in a rundown South Side Chicago apartment, “A Raisin in the Sun” deals with the hopes and disappointments of a black family trying to find a better life in a white neighborhood. It was the first play by a black woman to be produced on Broadway. Hansberry became the youngest American and the first black winner of the New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award, in 1959.
Carroll, 78, met Hansberry before the playwright died of cancer at age 34 in 1965.
“She was extraordinary and I think that’s one of the reasons why it is an honor to be asked to be part of this,” said Carroll. “She faced everything with such intelligence and grace. She was dying when we met but you would never have known that.”
This will be the second Broadway revival of the play. The original Broadway production in 1959 featured Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil and Diana Sands, all who reunited for a 1961 film adaptation. The last Broadway revival occurred in 2004, starring Diddy, Phylicia Rashad, Sanaa Lathan and Audra McDonald.
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