Starring in Stephen Adly Guirgis' Pulitzer-winning Between Riverside and Crazy at Broadway's Hayes Theatre, Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy winner Common talked about making his Broadway debut as Junior with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert December 12.
During the interview, Common reveals his place on the Broadway stage is a wish fulfilled. "I was dreaming of being on Broadway for a long time, just doing theatre. I really, really wanted to do theatre," he shares. The multi-talented artist really gravitated towards Between Riverside and Crazy and how the play balances humor with depth. "People are laughing, but they leave changed...The work I want to do as an actor and as an artist is work that changes people's lives, that inspires people, but also entertains." Turns out his journey to pursuing that goal on Broadway began with a theatrical stage debut as a fifth grader playing Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol.
A comedic look at life in rent-controlled New York City, Guirgis' play follows recently widowed ex-cop Walter "Pops" Washington and his recently paroled son Junior as they try to hold onto their rent-stabilized apartment. Between Riverside and Crazy began previews November 30 and opens December 19 for a run through February 12, 2023. Performances will be available to stream live January 31–February 12.
Common also shares how he has made the feel like home, including mantras his chef puts on his food containers (Common is a vegan). Colbert reads out one of the examples: "'I live bravely in my true authenticity.' Provolone burger and salad." He also talks about how he made the mistake of grabbing dinner too far from the theatre before the show, and the consequences of underestimating New York City traffic.
Common stars opposite Stephen McKinley Henderson as Pops, along with Victor Almanzar as Oswaldo, Elizabeth Canavan as Detective O'Connor, Rosal Colón as Lulu, Liza Colón-Zayas as Church Lady, and Michael Rispoli as Lieutenant Caro. Rounding out the company as understudies are Erick Betancourt, J. Anthony Crane, Clinton Lowe, Kate A. Mulligan, C.E. Smith, and Vivana Valeria.
Austin Pendleton helms the creative team scenic designer Walt Spangler, costume designer Alexis Forte, lighting designer Keith Parham, and sound designer Ryan Rumery, who also provides original music. Casting is by William Cantler and Karyn Casl of The Telsey Office, with John C. Moore serving as production stage manager and Bryan Bauer as stage manager.
Between Riverside and Crazy made its Off-Broadway debut in 2014 at Atlantic Theater, where it had a sold-out run. Second Stage revived the show with much of the same cast and creative team at its Tony Kiser Theater Off-Broadway in February 2015; most of that cast and the Off-Broadway's run creative team return for Second Stage's current Broadway staging.