Rapper and actor Common is set to make his Broadway debut in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Between Riverside and Crazy. Performances begin on Nov. 30 at Second Stage’s Hayes Theater with the official opening night set for Dec. 19.
The Austin Pendleton-directed play tells the story of ex-cop and recent widower Walter “Pops” Washington (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and his recently paroled son Junior (Common). The two face challenges as they try to hold on to one of the last great rent stabilized apartments on Riverside Drive. As City Hall begins making demands, the landlord wants the father-son duo out of the building. The play examines “old wounds, sketchy new houseguests and a final ultimatum…” According to Deadline, the 2015 staging included Ron Cephas-Jones in the role of Junior.
An elated Common took to his Instagram account to share what this moment means for him. “This has been a dream of mine for a very long time to act in a play, to do theater, and to be a part of a theatre company,” he captioned his announcement. “I am supremely grateful and overwhelmingly inspired to be apart of ‘Between Riverside and Crazy.’ I can’t wait to begin this process and to live this journey.”
He added, “You never could have told me that little south side boy that he would be on Broadway. 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 in 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.”
The almost EGOT-status artist also shared that he’d like to use his Broadway debut to “express that light and love” to others. “I thank GOD for the opening of doors in this blessing,” he said. “So pls come back check out our play y’all. Thank you @2stnyc for the opportunity! Woooooooooo. Love”
Although new to Broadway, Common is no stranger to acting. He recently starred alongside Keke Palmer in the 2022 film Alice, as well Stefon Bristol’s Breathe with Jennifer Hudson, Milla Jovovich and Quvenzhané Wallis. His other forthcoming projects are Apple TV+’s sci-fi drama series Wool and the independent Hollywood satire El Tonto. The 50-year-old has also showcased his acting skills in Never Have I Ever, The Informer and Suicide Squad and more.
Common deservingly took home a 2015 Oscar and 2016 Grammy for his song “Glory,” co-written with John Legend for the film Selma. He also scored an Emmy for the song “Letter To The Free” in the 2017 documentary 13th. His upcoming Broadway debut could open him up to EGOT status.