Few stars shone as brightly as Sidney Poitier.
In films like “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “In the Heat of the Night” Poitier put on powerful performances that electrified audiences. He also broke racial barriers as a leading man and first box office draw in the 1950s and 1960s, and became the first African-American man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “Lilies of the Field”. Although he is best known for his cinematic work in front of the camera, Poitier also became a director achieving hits such as “Stir Crazy”. On stage, he appeared in the first production of “A Raisin in the Sun”.
From now on, Poitier’s legendary life as a performer, director and activist will be staged in a new Broadway play to be written by Charles Randolph-Wright and directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson. . Entitled “Sidney”, the show will trace the youth of Poitier on Cat Island in the Bahamas until his rise to become one of the biggest stars in the world. The play was produced with the support of the Poitier family, who selected both Randolph-Wright and Santiago-Hudson to write and direct the production. “Sidney” is produced by Ron Gillyard (“Born For It”); Poitier’s daughter, director Anika Poitier; and Barry Krost. The play is adapted from Poitier’s successful autobiography “The Measure of a Man”.
Randolph-Wright is the author of “Blue” and the upcoming “American Prophet: Frederick Douglass In His Own Words”. He is also the director of the critically acclaimed cover of Alice Childress’s “Trouble in Mind,” which debuted on Broadway this fall.
Santiago-Hudson is also on Broadway this season as a writer, director and star of “Lackawanna Blues”. He previously directed the Broadway premiere of August Wilson’s Tony-winning “Jitney” and will direct the Broadway premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s “Skeleton Crew”.
In a statement, Randoph-Wright said: “The first time I met Sidney Poitier was decades ago when he saw a show I co-wrote and produced in Los Angeles. . We went to dinner and I literally couldn’t speak. He said to me, “If I have inspired you in any way, you have more than paid me back with what I saw tonight. I have kept these words my whole career. And now putting his amazing life on stage is the ultimate challenge and the ultimate joy. Having the trust of Mr. Poitier and his family is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received – what an honor to be able to dramatize the true measure of this monumental man. I can’t wait for the world to discover the amazing person behind one of our most amazing heroes, a man who continues to inspire.
Santiago-Hudson added: “Sir Sidney Poitier is clearly one of the greatest actors in the history of cinema. Its integrity and level of excellence have set the bar very high for generations to come. It is an honor to participate in the celebration of the monumental career of the incomparable Sidney Poitier in this play, but also of the man and his extraordinary life.
The cast and creative team will be announced at a later date, as will the production schedule.