Sophie Okonedo Shines In Broadway’s “Raisin In The Sun”By: Rachel Kolman - April 12, 2014
Sophie Okonedo is stunning in her Broadway debut of “A Raisin In The Sun” opposite Denzel Washington. The British born actress, best known for her role in Hotel Rwanda, stars as Ruth, Walter’s (Washington) distressed, but strong, wife. A review by The Washington Post calls Sophie the play’s mournful foundation: “Okonedo is deceptively subdued as Ruth, who embodies the bone-breaking hardship of poverty.”
“A Raisin In The Sun” follows a poor family struggling in one small Chicago apartment until they receive their salvation: a $10,000 check from a life-insurance policy payout. The real struggle begins when the family all has differing opinions on what to do with the money.
On getting the role, Sophie says it was a “dream come true.” “Hansberry knew so much about the human spirit, getting older, and living in the world when you don’t have much,” she says of the 1950s production. Despite the age of the play, Sophie believes the content of “Raisin” is still relevant today. “The gap between the rich and the poor is bigger than ever. That grips me.”
The Washington Post adds that “you can see Ruth’s weariness in the carriage of Okonedo’s shoulders, the set of her mouth. She embraces every part of the character.” Okonedo says that she decided to focus more on portraying Ruth’s strength rather than her fatigue. “She’s quite tough, quite robust,” says Okonedo. “She couldn’t be falling apart every second. She’d have to be trying to keep it together.”
“A Raisin In The Sun” has been receiving overall rave reviews and has even seen some high profile guests. This weekend President Obama and First Lady Michelle attended the play, heading backstage to meet the actors during intermission. “I was so excited I couldn’t even hear anything he said,” Sophie says about meeting the president. She was also able to squeeze in a quick hug with Michelle. “I hugged her! I just couldn’t help it. She just feels so approachable.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons