Common Set to Make Broadway Stage Debut in Between Riverside and Crazy
With preview performances beginning in New York City on Nov. 30 at Second Stage's Hayes Theater and an official opening night set for Dec. 19, Common joins the cast of Stephen Adly Guirgis' Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play, Between Riverside and Crazy. The Chicago rapper will take on the supporting role of Junior, the son of the play's lead character, Walter "Pops" Washington, a widowed ex-cop struggling to make ends meet played by award-winning Fences actor Stephen McKinley Henderson. Common graciously announced his upcoming role in Between Riverside and Crazy on social media back in September with a post that is a clear indicator of the passionate performance the "Come Close" artist intends to deliver in his role as Junior.
"This has been a dream of mine for a very long time," wrote Common in an Instagram post announcing his onstage debut on Sept. 16. "I am supremely grateful and overwhelmingly inspired to be a part of Between Riverside and Crazy. I can’t wait to begin this process and to live this journey."
From there, the Chi-Town native elaborated on the sense of pride and creative fulfillment his new Broadway venture is bringing his way.
"You never could have told me that little south side boy that he would be on Broadway," continued the One Day It'll All Make Sense MC. "When I got this role, I called my mother like I had gotten my first record contract. Haha. It was that much joy. I have been told how hard the work is and that there’s nothing like it. This is what I want as an artist and as a being that believes art can heal and inspire. I want to be a part of the theater community to express that light and love. I thank God for this opening of doors and this blessing. So [please] come check out our play, y’all. Thank you [Second Stage Theater] for the opportunity. Love."
Surrounded by a robust cast that is mostly made up of the same actors who were featured in the original Off-Broadway rendition of Between Riverside and Crazy, Common's role as Junior sees the legendary rhymer's character as a recent parolee who recently returned to his father's home following the death of his mother. Along with his girlfriend, Lulu, and his recovering addict buddy, Oswaldo, Junior and his father, Walter "Pops" Washington navigate their new lives through a comedic take on what it's like living in a small rent-controlled apartment in New York City.
The John Wick: Chapter 2 actor's upcoming Broadway performance places Common in line to potentially become the first rapper to ever earn the coveted EGOT, a prestigious honor defined by a single performer who's been awarded the combination of an Emmy Award for television, a Grammy Award for the music industry, an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a Tony Award for excellence in live Broadway theater.
The aforementioned Tony award would be the final piece needed to complete Common's EGOT puzzle, as he has previously been presented with three Grammy Awards, one Academy Award and one Emmy Award.
The Chicago spitter's Grammy wins include Best R&B song for his 2002 guest appearance on Erykah Badu's "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop)," Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for 2007's Kanye West-assisted "Southside" and Best Song Written for Visual Media for 2014's "Glory" featuring John Legend, who also happens to be the first Black man to achieve an EGOT.
In the realms of film and television, the Be artist was recognized for his musical contributions to the 2014 film, Selma, and 2016's Netflix documentary, 13th. Common and John Legend each earned an Academy Award for Best Orginal Song with Selma's "Glory" while on the solo tip, Com snatched an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for "Letter to the Free," which was featured on the soundtrack for 13th.