Lena Waithe Teases Stage Production With Debbie Allen

Lena Waithe
Tommaso Boddi/FilmMagic

Lena Waithe is looking to conquer the stage.

During a virtual event for Chapman University’s Dodge College Master Class series on Feb. 11, the Emmy winner revealed that a certain multi-hyphenate has reeled her. “I’m gonna try my hand at theater because Debbie Allen is pulling me in,” said Waithe, who broke out writing and acting on Netflix’s Master of None before segueing to Showtime’s The Chi, BET’s Twenties and writing and producing the feature film Queen & Slim, among other projects. “So that’s a whole other muscle of writing.”

Waithe, who runs her own production company Hillman Grad, was protective of the details, offering only that she met Allen during an IG Live chat and that led to a conversation about a specific project. “I was like, ‘What if we did this for the stage?’ and she was like ‘Yeah, I would love to do that.’ So, we’re working on something together…it’s just nuts because Debbie Allen is a fucking icon. She’s brilliant. I love learning from her and work[ing] with her. But we’re gonna step into that space. I wanted to step into the theater space anyway with some other projects.”

Waithe’s appearance on behalf of Chapman also covered such topics as authenticity in storytelling and diversity in entertainment. “For Black people, the revolution has always been here,” she said. “I have to be mindful of the position I’m in and where I sit as a person who is a person with privilege and means and access. For me, my job hasn’t changed. You know, I didn’t come here to entertain, I came here to tell the truth. And so that’s our job – it is to write, to document.”

Waithe is the latest boldfaced name to show up for Chapman's series after Bryan Cranston and former Warner Bros. executive Dee Dee Myers.