NEW YORK (AP) – LaTanya Richardson Jackson came to visit New York to see some Broadway shows. Now she’s in one.
Richardson Jackson, who was last on Broadway in the Tony-winning 2009 revival of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, was asked on Saturday to take over for Diahann Carroll in next month’s Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun.
“This is not even serendipitous. This is a miracle,” Richardson Jackson, the wife of actor Samuel L. Jackson, said yesterday after a full day of rehearsal. “This is an incredible dream. I could cry, but I don’t have time.”
The 78-year-old Carroll withdrew over the weekend due to the vigorous demands of the rehearsal and performance schedule. Richardson Jackson got the call while she was shopping. Director Kenny Leon, who asked her to step in, didn’t even know she was in New York when he dialled her cell phone.
“How it arrived, I can’t question, although I can’t say I wasn’t upset, because I am. Carroll is a friend and I just regret that she wasn’t able. I was looking so forward to seeing her in this production,” said Richardson Jackson.
The new production also will star Denzel Washington, Sophie Okonedo and Anika Noni Rose. “Listen, she’s already in there killing it,” said Washington after the rehearsal. “She’s already pushing me so that’s good. I’m happy that she’s here.”
Richardson Jackson came to New York to see Waiting for Godot with Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart, and also to check out Pauletta Washington – Denzel’s wife – in a cabaret at Joe’s Pub.
Her plans for a relaxing trip ended quickly after the Broadway offer. (Her husband, who is in Atlanta shooting a film, said she had to do it.) Her Saturday night was spent signing contracts and speaking to stage managers.
“Right now, I’m just flying by the seat of my pants,” she said. “I had to wrap my mind about what was actually occurring. After this long rehearsal today, I’m still just getting what I’m doing.”
Her off-Broadway credits include From the Mississippi Delta and The Talented Tenth and her TV roles have included parts on Ally McBeal and 100 Centre Street. She appeared in the films Sleepless in Seattle and Malcolm X.