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Phylicia Rashad stars in Skeleton Crew at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway from December 21.
Rashad is a Tony Award-winning stage and screen actress born June 19, 1948 in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Howard University in 1970 with a bachelor of fine arts degree and began her acting career on stage, making her Broadway debut in 1971 as a standby in Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death. Between 1975 and 1985, she performed as a Munchkin in The Wiz and in the ensemble of Dreamgirls. She also understudied the role of Deena Jones in the latter production but left in 1982 after being passed over as Sheryl Lee Ralph's replacement in the role. Six years later, she landed her first major role as the replacement for the Witch in Into the Woods.
From then on, all Rashad's Broadway roles would be leading ones. The most notable of these is Lena Younger in the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun; her performance made her the first Black actress ever to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play at that year's ceremony, and she also won a Drama Desk Award. Her other starring Broadway roles have included Anita in Jelly's Last Jam, Aunt Ester in Gem of the Ocean (earning a Tony nomination), Queen in Cymbeline, and Violet Weston in August: Osage County. Prior to her 2021 turn in Skeleton Crew, she was last seen on Broadway starring as Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 2008. Rashad was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2016.
Despite her prolific theatre career, Rashad is best known for her extensive television career, particularly for playing Claire Huxtable in NBC's The Cosby Show from 1984-1992 and earning two Emmy nominations for the part. She went on to star opposite Bill Cosby again as Ruth Lucas in the CBS sitcom Cosby from 1996-2000. More recently, she was nominated for Emmy Awards in 2019, 2020, and 2021 for her role as Carol Clarke on This Is Us. Her other television credits include recurring roles on Empire, Little Bill, and David Makes Man and roles in TV movies such as False Witness, Polly, Polly: Comin' Home!, David's Mother, and Steel Magnolias, among dozens of other television appearances.
Rashad's film credits include For Colored Girls, Frankie and Alice, Creed, Creed II, Black Box, and Soul, among others. As of 2021, she is filming the upcoming horror movie Nanny.