Theater archives

Is Denzel Washington Too Old For His Next Role?


Sidney Poitier was 32 when he played the upwardly mobile Walter Lee Younger in the original 1959 Broadway production of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic A Raisin in The Sun (the play that recent Pulitzer winner Clybourne Park so interestingly riffed on).

And Sean Combs was 35 when he played it in the 2004 revival.

That makes sense, since the character is in his 30s.

But Denzel Washington will be 59 when he takes on the same role in a 2014 Broadway revival that’s just been reported on.

Too old? Or can the magic of stagecraft erase all doubts (and any lines), as it has many times before?

I’m not sure, though Denzel’s such a powerful stage actor (Tony award for Fences) that I wouldn’t put anything past him, maybe even the elimination of decades.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting that the linked article says that Whoopi Goldberg would love to play Denzel’s mama in that production.

Fine with me, even though she’s a year younger than Denzel!