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In 2004, Phylicia Rashad Became The First Black Actress To Win The Tony Award For Best Actress

Phylicia Rashad Phylicia Rashad profile Phylicia Rashad biography
Phylicia Rashad


Rashad was the first black actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in 2004, for her performance in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Among her other Broadway credits are Into the Woods (1988), Jelly’s Last Jam (1993), Gem of the Ocean (2004), and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2006). (2008). She received an NAACP Image Award for her performance in the 2008 television adaption of A Raisin in the Sun. She has also appeared in For Colored Girls (2010), Good Deeds (2012), and Creed (2013). (2015).

Phylicia Rashad, an African-American actress, singer, and stage director, was born in Phylicia Ayers-Allen, Houston on June 19, 1948. Rashad is best known for her portrayal of Clair Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (from 1984 to 1992), for which she received Emmy nods in 1985 and 1986. At the 2010 NAACP Image Awards, she was dubbed “The Mother” of the African-American community.


Vivian Ayers, Rashad’s mother, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated artist, poet, playwright, academic, and publisher. Andrew Arthur Allen, her father, was an orthodontist. Rashad’s family relocated to Mexico when she was a child, where she learned to speak Spanish proficiently. Rashad attended Howard University and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree magna cum laude in 1970. She is also a member of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. During her time at Howard University, she was initiated into the Alpha Chapter.

Rashad rose to prominence through her theater work, including a role as Deena Jones in Dreamgirls. She was Sheryl Lee Ralph’s understudy until departing the program in 1982 after being passed over as Ralph’s full-time replacement. She also spent three and a half years as a Munchkin in The Wiz. In 1978, she published the disco concept album Josephine Superstar, which told the story of Josephine Baker’s life.

Other Broadway credits include August: Osage CountyCat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Gem of the OceanRaisin in the Sun (2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play/Drama Desk Award), BlueJelly’s Last JamInto the Woods, and Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death. Other non-Broadway credits include Lincoln Center’s productions of Cymbeline and Bernarda AlbaHelenThe Story and Everybody’s Ruby at the Public Theater; The Negro Ensemble Company productions of Puppet PlayZooman and the SignSons and Fathers of SonsIn an Upstate MotelWeep Not For Me, and The Great Mac Daddy; Lincoln Center’s production of Ed Bullins’ The Duplex; and The Sirens at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Rashad was the first black actress of any nationality to win the Tony Award for Best Actress (Play) in 2004 for her performance as Lena Younger in a revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun. The following year, she was nominated for the same award for Gem of the Ocean. Rashad also shared the 2004 Drama Desk Award for Best Actress in a Play for A Raisin in the Sun with Viola Davis for the play Intimate Apparel.

Rashad made her directorial debut in 2007 with August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. Rashad most recently directed a revival of Fences, also by Wilson, at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, in early 2014, to generally positive reviews, and continued an ongoing focus on Wilson’s work, including a well-received production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in late 2016.

Rashad performed Shelah in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s production Head of Passes at The Public Theater from March 17th to May 1st, 2016. Her performance was rated well.


Written by How Africa News

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