Phylicia Rashad is returning to the theater, but this time she’ll be working behind the scenes. Deadline confirms the Tony-winning actress is making her Broadway directorial debut with Charles Randolph-Wright’s play “Blue.” The production is scheduled to bow in spring 2020.
“Blue” centers on the Clarks, a prominent family struggling to come to terms with its legacy. The Broadway production will be “infused with a searing jazz and soul score” by singer-songwriter and Labelle member Nona Hendryx.
“Part of the inspiration for writing ‘Blue’ was that I had never seen a family like mine on stage,” Randolph-Wright explained. “I am thrilled that ‘Blue’ will continue to open doors to a more diverse world, and also spread a little joy.”
Rashad is no stranger to “Blue”: she starred in the play’s original run at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage in 2000 and in its 2001 NYC premiere at the Roundabout Theatre Company.
“I am happy to be directing this play that brought me so much joy,” Rashad announced. “It affirms the importance of theater and its power to touch the human heart.”
This will not be Rashad’s first time in the director’s chair. She has helmed productions of four August Wilson plays: “Gem of the Ocean” (Seattle Repertory Theatre), “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Mark Taper Forum), “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” (Mark Taper Forum), and “Fences” (Long Wharf Theatre and McCarter Theatre). Rashad has also directed at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and New York’s Signature Theatre.
Rashad won a Tony in 2004 for her performance as Lena Younger in a revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.” She received another Tony nod in 2005 for her role in “Gem of the Ocean.” Rashad’s other onstage credits include “August: Osage County,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Into the Woods,” “Dreamgirls,” and “The Wiz.” Probably best known as “The Cosby Show’s” matriarch, Clair Huxtable, Rashad has recently appeared onscreen in projects such as “This Is Us,” “Creed,” and “Empire.”