Diahann Carroll Withdraws from 'A Raisin in the Sun'

Associated Press
Diahann Carroll

LaTanya Richardson Jackson steps into the spring Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry's landmark drama, starring opposite Denzel Washington.

It was to mark her return to Broadway after a 30-year absence, but Diahann Carroll has withdrawn from the upcoming revival of A Raisin in the Sun, with LaTanya Richardson Jackson stepping in to replace her in the role of family matriarch Lena Younger.

A representative for the highly anticipated production, one of the starriest entries on Broadway's spring lineup, said Carroll's departure was due to the demands of the vigorous rehearsal and performance schedule. The actress is 78.

Richardson Jackson joins Denzel Washington, Sophie Okonedo and Anika Noni Rose in the staging of Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 drama about a black family's bid to get out of Chicago's South Side and build a new life in a better neighborhood.

Kenny Leon is directing the revival, which is produced by Scott Rudin. It starts preview performances March 8 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, with opening night set for April 3.

The wife of actor Samuel L. Jackson, Richardson Jackson was last on Broadway in the Tony-winning 2009 revival of Joe Turner's Come and Gone, by August Wilson.

The cast change will obviously require some crafty work from the makeup department, given that Richardson Jackson is only five years older than Washington, who will be playing her son.