Dancin' Dan here with the news that made my week: Lorraine Hansberry's groundbreaking play A Raisin in the Sun is coming back to Broadway. This news alone might not necessarily be cheer-worthy since it was just revived in 2004 but other than one of the great American plays back on the boards it's the starry cast attached to it that brings the excitement. Denzel Washington will lead the ensemble in the role of Walter Lee Younger which was played by Sidney Poitier on both stage and screen. So Denzel's Training Day Oscar speech continues to be true.
Joining Denzel will be no less than three Oscar or Tony-nominated actresses: Sophie Okonedo (as Walter's wife Ruth, originally played by Ruby Dee), Anika Noni Rose, and Diahann Carroll (as Younger family matriarch Lena, most recently played on Broadway by Phylicia Rashad).
Taking a page from Cicely Tyson's book and returning to the stage after 30 years, Carroll is certainly my main draw here, despite Denzel's wonderful Tony-winning turn in August Wilson's Fences which was his last Broadway performance. He said he wanted to do this because his wife was outpacing him on the theater front and he wanted to catch up. Love that healthy competition!
Despite the play's acclaim, the original production of A Raisin in the Sun won none of the four Tony Awards for which it was nominated (it was a crowded year, with The Miracle Worker, The Best Man, and Toys in the Attic all being major players), and while the 2004 revival missed the Best Revival of a Play Tony (which went to Henry IV), it did score nods for its three main actresses, including a win for Phylicia Rashad.
Fun fact: Diahann Carroll was the first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (for No Strings in 1962). Can she pull the same trick as Rashad and add one for Drama to her mantle? Can Washington finally catch up to Poitier? Will the third time be the charm for this gem of American drama? We'll find out in April 2014.