Stage & Screen Veteran Spoke On Panel About Diversity On Broadway
Phylicia Rashad reflected on her more than 40-year career on Broadway at a panel on the importance of inclusion on The Great White Way.
The actress, beloved for her role as Claire Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” has been performing on Broadway since the 1970s and is now set to make her Broadway directorial debut in Charles Randolph Wright’s “Blue” in 2020. And she revealed her biggest lesson from being on the stage.
“It’s storytelling,” Rashad said. “It’s important to tell a good story. There’s that that’s on the page, but the playwright never writes everything, and you must find what’s beneath the surface of that page. That’s the joy. That’s the greatest thrill of all.”
Rashad spoke on a panel Monday at “Let’s Do Broadway!” event at the National Geographic Center in New York City’s Times Square.
The evening, hosted by “Tina-The Tina Turner Musical,” Aladdin,” “Frozen,” “MJ The Musical,” “Ain’t Too Proud” and the Roundabout Theater Company highlighted highlight the importance of representation on stage and in the audience and aimed to spur more minority engagement on Broadway.
Rashad said she got her start in the theater and recalled her first stint on Broadway as an understudy for Melvin Van Peebles’ “Ain’t Supposed To Die A Natural Death.”
“It was luxurious,” Rashad recalled, “it was right, it was powerful, it was raw. And I was just this little child just come out of Howard University.”
The Houston, TX native joked that her acting role led to some diva demands with her sister, Debbie, who lived with her at the time on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
“I would tell her every day, ‘don’t talk to me, please, because I have to get ready,” Rashad said. “Don’t talk to me, I have to have quiet.’ I was ridiculous!”