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Sidney Poitier

Ruben Santiago-Hudson to direct new Broadway play 'Sidney'

The new play by Charles Randolph-Wright tells the life story of actor, filmmaker, and diplomat Sidney Poitier.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

Producers Ron Gillyard, Anika Poitier, and Barry Krost are bringing a new play titled Sidney to Broadway at a date to be announced. The show, written by Charles Randolph-Wright and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, is based on the 2000 autobiography of Sidney Poitier titled The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography.

Poitier, now 94 and retired, had a long career as an actor, activist, filmmaker, and diplomat. Poitier was born in Miami but grew up in the Bahamas, and he moved to New York at age 16. After landing a breakthrough acting role in Blackboard Jungle in 1955, he would go on to star in films like Porgy and Bess, A Raisin in the Sun, and A Patch of Blue during the Golden Age of Hollywood. He received a 1958 Academy Award nomination for his role in The Defiant Ones and a win for Lilies of the Field in 1964. Later in life, he changed careers and became the American ambassador to the Bahamas. For all his work in film and diplomacy, he is known as a trailblazer for future Black talent.

"The first time I met Sidney Poitier was decades ago when he saw a show I co-wrote and directed in Los Angeles ... He said to me, 'If in any way I have inspired you, you have more than paid me back with what I saw this evening,'" Randolph-Wright said. "And now to place his astonishing life on stage is the ultimate challenge and the ultimate joy."

Poitier's family chose Randolph-Wright and Hudson to write and direct, respectively, the stage adaptation of Poitier's life. Hudson was most recently on Broadway with his solo show Lackawanna Blues and is directing the upcoming Broadway production of Dominique Morrisseau's Skeleton Crew. Randolph-Wright directed the current Broadway premiere of Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress, who Poitier inspired to become a playwright when the two were beginning their careers at New York's American Negro Theatre.

Casting, creative team, run dates, and a venue for Sidney have yet to be announced.

Photo credit: Sidney Poitier (right) as Walter Younger in A Raisin in the Sun. (Photo by Friedman Abeles)

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