Diahann Carroll, Denzel Washington Broadway-Bound with “Raisin”

Mark Davis

Denzel Washington and Diahann Carroll -- making her first return to Broadway in three decades -- will star in a limited engagement of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” this spring at the Barrymore Theatre, producers said this week.

Washington will star as Walter Lee Younger, with Carroll as family matriarch Lena, known as “Mama.” Kenny Leon, who directed Washington in his 2010 Tony-winning performance in “Fences,” will helm the production.

Previews will begin March 8, ahead of an April 3 opening. "Raisin" will run through June 15. The Barrymore is where the original production of “Raisin” opened 55 years ago.

Also joining the cast are Oscar-nominee Sophie Okonedo (“Hotel Rwanda”), making her Broadway debut as Ruth Younger, and Tony-winner Anika Noni Rose (“Caroline, or Change) as Beneatha Younger.

“A Raisin in the Sun,” originally produced in 1959, was the first play written by an African-America woman to be staged on Broadway. It’s set on Chicago’s South Side and revolves around the aspirations and troubles within three generations of the Younger family as they try to decide what to do with an inheritance.

Carroll, a Tony winner herself for 1962’s “No Strings,” was last seen on Broadway in “Agnes of God” in 1983. She’ll join Cicely Tyson, who triumphed in last season’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” among the recent ranks of actresses making a return to the Rialto after a 30-year absence.

“A Raisin in the Sun” was last seen on Broadway in 2004 with Sean Combs, Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad. The 2012 Tony-winning best play “Clybourne Park” portrayed the events set before and after “Raisin.”

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

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