My education on Denzel Washington began with the movies Philadelphia, The Bone Collector, which also starred a young Angelina Jolie, and Training Day, for which he won an Academy Award. Needless to say, I was impressed. Then, in college, my roommate was a huge Denzel enthusiast, so I took in several more performances, including Man on Fire and John Q. While I enjoyed his more subtle performances, I couldn’t help but revel in the tough persona he had built with several of these badass, man-against-the-world roles. As my roommate would have said, “Denzel is man at his most man.”
Source: YouTube, Top 10 Denzel Washington Performances
But aside from an illustrious (and often macho) movie career, Denzel has also proven himself a highly capable stage actor, starring on Broadway in Checkmates, Julius Caesar, and the 2010 revival of Fences, for which he won a Tony award in a role originated by James Earl Jones in 1987. Now, he’s coming back again in a new revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. The previous revival was produced only ten years ago in a popular production starring Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show), Audra McDonald (Ragtime), Sanaa Lathan (Love & Basketball), and Sean Combs (P. Diddy). But when a star like Denzel is attached, it’s never too early for another revival. This new production also stars fellow Tony winner Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls, The Princess and the Frog).
Denzel will most certainly be in the running for another Tony award this year, and I don’t think the Broadway community will mind too much; he will sell gazillions of tickets with his star power, but he also backs it up with a masterful performance that is really worth seeing. After all, in an entertainment landscape dominated by screens, when else will you get the chance to see such a talented and famous actor perform in person? Now, all Denzel needs is to create a great role on a hit cable show (if Bryan Cranston can do it, why not DWash?) and put out a spoken word album (or maybe a historical reading about Malcolm X, one of his best roles), and he’ll be the next EGOT.