Lena Younger just got younger before our eyes! 78-year-old screen icon Diahann Carroll has withdrawn from the upcoming Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun midway through rehearsals, with LaTanya Richardson Jackson now taking over the role of Lena Younger. Interestingly, 64-year-old Jackson is only five years older than leading man Denzel Washington, who will play her son, Walter Lee Younger.
The Kenny Leon production of the Lorraine Hansberry masterpiece has skewed older in its casting from the start. At 59, Washington is more senior than Broadway's previous Walters, 34-year-old Sean Combs in the 2004 revival and 32-year-old Sidney Poiter in the 1959 original. And in the role of Lena Younger, Phylicia Rashad was 55 when she earned a Tony in the revival and original star Claudia McNeil was only 41 when she originated the role opposite Poitier!
Jackson, who is married to screen and stage star Samuel Jackson, was seen on Broadway in the 2009 revival of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Off-Broadway credits include Love, Loss and What I Wore, For Colored Girls..., Elliot Loves and From the Mississippi Delta. In addition, she has dozens of film and TV credits.
A Raisin in the Sun will start performances on March 8 at the Barrymore Theatre, with opening night set for April 3. The limited run is set to end on June 15. In addition to Washington and Jackson, the cast features Tony winner Anika Noni Rose and Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo, who will make her Broadway debut as Washington’s wife, Ruth.
Get your tickets now for this one. No, seriously!