×

Alfre Woodard on Her 1984 Oscar Nomination and Marvel’s ‘Luke Cage’

An Oscar nominee for “Cross Creek” in 1984, Alfre Woodard has won four Emmy awards. But her first mention in Variety was for her work Off Broadway in the ensemble show “So Nice, They Named It Twice” presented by Joseph Papp at the Public Theater.

How well do you remember the production? 

There were 27 of us in the cast and only two dressing rooms, one for the women, one for men. And there weren’t as many men as women. There were probably 18 women sharing a dressing room.

How did you land the role?

I was in town because I had been an understudy in “Me and Bessie.” I was going to go right back to Los Angeles when that show closed, but the casting director, Rosemary Tischler, said, “Come down; we’re doing this play. You don’t have to go back to California.” So I got in that play, and that’s how I met so many friends that I have now.

What do you remember about the show?

It was one of those where a lot of stuff was happening on stage at once. There was a murder, there were junkies, someone got shot on stage. I was playing a very innocent, pregnant country girl. Someone who thought the junkies were just sleepy when they were nodding out.

When was the last time you were on stage?

It was about 10 years ago. I did “Drowning Crow.” It was a reimagining of Chekov’s “The Seagull.”

Do you miss it? 

You know, I’ve seen more theater in the past four months than I have in the last eight years. I would rather see a really good play than be in a good play. It requires so much. I am going to go on stage soon in a Theresa Rebeck play she is writing for me; I’m so excited for that. It’s called “Zealot.” We did a reading last June and it went swimmingly. I get on stage when I feel like I can’t sit in the audience. And Theresa is so brilliant, I love her.

Do you get to be a superhero in Marvel’s “Luke Cage”?

I can’t tell you what I get to be, because Marvel is part production company, part NSA! They’re very secretive. It’s a lot of fun. But you have to be good at keeping secrets. Even from other actors.

What do you remember about your Oscar nomination?

It was an emotional morning. My dear best friend E. Lamont Johnson, he was a beautiful actor and person, and he passed on that morning. My husband and I had come from the hospital and were home for about an hour. Somebody called me and said, “You just got an Oscar nomination.” I said, “What?” I started to smile and laugh and said, “I don’t know what to do with this.” I got off the phone and we were both laughing and weeping, and I said, “I have to go down to the beach.” I jumped in the water with my clothes on. I wept and I smiled. It was like bungee jumping from space, that’s what it felt like.

Click Image for Large Preview

More Legit

  • The Prince of Egypt review

    'The Prince of Egypt': Theater Review

    In “The Prince of Egypt,” a swords-and-sandals epic minus the swords, no one speaks, they declaim; no one questions, they implore to the heavens. In a musical re-telling of the Exodus story that is bigger on plagues than on developed characterization, subtlety was always going to be in short supply. But did everything have to [...]

  • Katori Hall

    Listen: Katori Hall's 'Quiet Revolution'

    Playwright Katori Hall’s latest, “The Hot Wing King,” centers on a group of black gay men — a community so rarely depicted onstage in the theater that she can’t think of another example. Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below: Which means there’s real power just to see them represented. “Because there aren’t a ton of images [...]

  • Cirque Du Soleil Volta

    Volta: Cirque Du Soleil’s Latest Blends Themes of Self-Discovery with Street Sports

    Blending themes of loneliness, isolation and self-discovery with the magnetic culture of street sports, Cirque du Soleil’s latest iteration, “Volta,” is an eye-popping and psychically soothing spiritual journey experienced through a prism of jaw-dropping acrobatics and aerodynamics that leave one gasping for breath. The Montreal-based entertainment company has produced a steady string of awe-inspiring shows [...]

  • Cambodian Rock Band review

    'Cambodian Rock Band': Theater Review

    Is there anything less politically threatening than a rock band jamming to its own vibrant music? Tell that to the Khmer Rouge, which descended on Cambodia in 1975 and killed off some three million people, including many musicians. In Lauren Yee’s play “Cambodian Rock Band,” the doomed, fictional band Cyclo is represented by actor-musicians with [...]

  • Protesters demonstrate at the Broadway opening

    'West Side Story' Broadway Opening Night Sparks Protests

    Roughly 100 protestors gathered outside the Broadway premiere of “West Side Story” on Thursday night, carrying placards and chanting in unison to demand the removal of cast member Amar Ramasar. “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Ramasar has got to go,” they cried while holding signs that read “Keep predators off the stage,” “Sexual predators shouldn’t get [...]

  • West Side Story review

    'West Side Story': Theater Review

    Whittled down to one hour and forty-five minutes, “West Side Story” – with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins — has grown exceedingly dark and mislaid some of its moving parts in the new Broadway revival from edgy Belgian director Ivo Van Hove. (Can [...]

  • The Inheritance review

    'The Inheritance' Closing in March After Box Office Struggles

    “The Inheritance,” a sprawling and ambitious epic that grappled with the legacy of the AIDS epidemic, will close on March 15. The two-part play has struggled mightily at the box office despite receiving strong reviews. Last week, it grossed $345,984, or 52% of its capacity, a dispiriting number for a show that was reported to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content