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

  • Grand Horizons review

    'Grand Horizons': Theater Review

    Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one, as you surely must have: A nice, all-American family is in the process of breaking up and trying to make this sad state of affairs seem funny in Bess Wohl’s Broadway outing “Grand Horizons.” After 50 years of marriage, Nancy (the ever-elegant Jane Alexander) and Bill (the [...]

  • Uncle Vanya review

    'Uncle Vanya': Theater Review

    Director Ian Rickson has had success with Chekhov in the past. His exquisitely balanced, tragicomic production of “The Seagull” (2007 in London, 2008 on Broadway) was well-nigh flawless with, among others, Kristin Scott Thomas as painfully vulnerable as she was startlingly funny. Sadly, with his production of “Uncle Vanya,” despite felicities in the casting, lightning [...]

  • The Welkin review

    'The Welkin': Theater Review

    A life hanging perilously in the balance of charged-up, polarized opinions: This courtroom drama could easily have been titled “Twelve Angry Women.” But playwright Lucy Kirkwood (“Chimerica,” “The Children”) is far too strong and imaginative a writer for so hand-me-down a cliché. Instead she opts for “The Welkin,” an old English term for the vault [...]

  • Tina Fey attends the "Mean Girls"

    Tina Fey Announces Movie Adaptation of Broadway's 'Mean Girls' Musical

    It’s good to be mean…the “Mean Girls” musical, that is. Producers of the hit Broadway show announced today that the Tony-nominated production is being adapted for the big screen for Paramount Pictures. The musical is based on the 2004 movie of the same name. “I’m very excited to bring ‘Mean Girls’ back to the big screen,’ Tina Fey, [...]

  • Freestyle Love Supreme

    Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda and 'Freestyle Love Supreme' in Exclusive Clip From Sundance Documentary

    Before turning “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” into musical phenomenons, Lin-Manuel Miranda could have been found on stage, spouting off-the-cuff rhymes with his improv group, “Freestyle Love Supreme.” After performing across the globe, the troupe — founded 15 years ago by Miranda, his frequent collaborator Thomas Kail and emcee Anthony Veneziale — made its Broadway [...]

  • Ariana Grande 7 Rings

    Rodgers & Hammerstein Are Having a Moment Thanks to Ariana Grande, 'Oklahoma!'

    Jaws dropped when it was revealed that the late musical theater titans Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were granted 90% of the songwriting royalties on “7 Rings,” Ariana Grande’s 2019 No. 1 hit. The dominant motif of Grande’s song is taken from “My Favorite Things,” the cornerstone of R&H’s 1959 musical “The Sound of [...]

  • A Soldiers Play review

    'A Soldier's Play': Theater Review

    Now, that’s what I call a play! Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “A Soldier’s Play,” now being revived on Broadway by Roundabout Theatre Company, packs plenty of dramatic tension into smoldering issues of racial justice and injustice, military honor and dishonor, and the solemn struggle to balance their harrowing demands on characters who are only [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content