Phylicia Rashad, who is in Atlanta at the moment working on the remake of “Steel Magnolias,” will appear along with Mekhi Phifer in the stage premiere of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” from July 10 to 29 at Georgia State’s Rialto Center for the Arts.
Both “Magnolias” and “Guess Who’s” are being directed by Kenny Leon. The play is a production of Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, and the script was adapted by True Colors associate artistic director Todd Kreidler from William Rose’s Oscar-winning screenplay. (Tickets and information: 877-725-8849 or http://ticketalternative.com/Venues/336.aspx).
Rashad is no stranger to Atlanta. She appeared in “For Colored Girls,” the film adaptation of the play by Ntozake Shange that Tyler Perry directed. The film was set in New York but was mostly shot here.
Phifer (”ER,” “Lie to Me”) recently starred in the Leon-directed production of “Stick Fly” at Broadway’s Cort Theatre along with Phylicia Rashad’s daughter, Condola Rashad.
In “Guess Who’s,” he will star as Dr. John Prentice, with Phylicia Rashad portraying his mother, Mary Prentice. The roles were played by Sidney Poitier and Beah Richards, respectively, in the 1967 film directed by Stanley Kramer.
Rashad won a best actress Tony for her work in the 2004 Leon-directed Broadway revival of “A Raisin in the Sun.”
In “Magnolias,” Phylicia Rashad plays the elegant Clairee (Olympia Dukakis’ role in the original), while Condola plays Shelby (Julia Roberts‘ role in the original). The Lifetime project also stars Queen Latifah as M’Lynn, the role Sally Field played in the original film, Alfre Woodard as Ouiser (Shirley MacClaine’s role), Jill Scott as Truvy (Dolly Parton’s role), Adepero Oduye as Annelle (Daryl Hannah’s) and Afemo Omilami as Drum Eatenton (Tom Skerritt’s role).
“Magnolias” has been shooting in the Druid Hills area, near Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
– Jennifer Brett, Howard Pousner