Phylicia Rashad to Make Broadway Directing Debut With 'Blue'

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Phylicia Rashad

The Tony-winning actress previously starred in Charles Randolph-Wright's comedy about a wealthy Southern black family, set to an original jazz and soul score by Nona Hendryx.

Phylicia Rashad will return to Broadway next season, this time as director.

The veteran actress will make her Broadway directing debut in spring 2020 on the Charles Randolph-Wright play Blue, lead producer Brian Moreland announced Monday.

Rashad has a long acquaintance with the play, having starred as the matriarch of the comedy's wealthy African-American family in a fictitious South Carolina town, both in its 2000 premiere at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and its off-Broadway run the following year at Roundabout Theatre Company. 

"I am happy to be directing this play that brought me so much joy," said Rashad in a statement. "It affirms the importance of theater and its power to touch the human heart."

Randolph-Wright drew inspiration from his own family to depict the socially prominent Clarks, who struggle with the legacy and weight of their own good fortune. Blue is described as an exploration of the complexities of identity and trust behind the family's carefully constructed facade, celebrating their love and spirit as they come to terms with who they are. The play is set to an original jazz and soul score by Nona Hendryx.

Dates, cast and design team will be announced shortly. Joining Moreland on the producing team are Eric Falkenstein and Ron Simons.

Rashad's directing credits include productions at some of the country's leading theaters, including New York's Signature Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre and the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J.

She has staged the August Wilson plays Gem of the Ocean, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Fences and Joe Turner's Come and Gone, as well as Stephen Adly Guirgis' Our Lady of 121st Street and Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, the classic drama for which Rashad won a lead actress Tony Award in the 2004 Broadway revival.