Broadway Spotlight: Interview with Condola Rashad

Matt PriestlyTwo-Time Tony Nominee Returns Home to the Stage

New York native Condola Rashad is back on Broadway this month with A Doll’s House, Part 2. 30-year-old Rashad is twice nominated for Tony Awards, and the daughter of TV mom and veteran actor Phylicia Rashad and sportscaster/NFL player Ahmad Rashad. She joins an ensemble cast that includes Emmy winner Laurie Metcalf, Oscar winner Chris Cooper and Jayne Houdyshell.

Condola earned her Tony nominations for Stick Fly in 2012 and The Trip To Bountiful in 2013 and currently stars in the Showtime series Billions opposite Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis. Rashad is pleased to return to the stage this season, a place she considers home, having joined her mother as a child at various performances. She praised current and former co-stars on stage and screen and described what makes period piece A Doll’s House, Part 2 such a timely story about self-reflection and women’s equality.

Growing up in New York City with well- known parents, and even accompanying your mom to the theater as a child, what did Broadway mean to you then and did you ever dream of being on the stage yourself?

Oh 100%. There was something so exciting to me about the world of Broadway. Often when I went into the city it was to see a show or my mom’s show. I had all these little rituals being backstage. I’d be back there putting faces on my face and finding different places to put the beauty mark. It was the world of make-believe for me.

What are you most looking forward to acting alongside fantastic character actors Chris Cooper, Laurie Metcalf, and Jayne Houdyshell?

Well Jayne is a really great reunion because I’ve worked with her once before [on Romeo & Juliet]. With Laurie and Chris, I just continue to be blessed with being a part of these wonderful casts. There’s so much to learn and admire just from being in the room and it’s also just a really good feeling working with them. It’s funny because at first, I’m always very nervous; not that I think I don’t know what I’m doing but, I hold them at such high esteem.

Working alongside Cicely Tyson in A Trip To Bountiful, George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jodie Foster for the film Money Monster, Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis in current series Billions, Orlando Bloom in Romeo and Juliet, what is the greatest lesson you have learned from your fellow actors?

[It’s] not so much things people tell me but things I’ve learned by being in the room. Like Ms. Tyson, that’s one of my favorite experiences of my life, not just of my career. Being on stage for the months we did that show were life-changing, because I was able to see this beautiful soul who’s been through so many things. She is so very clear as to who she is and I think that that’s one of the biggest lessons I can learn.

Even Paul Giamatti who is a dear friend, I was able to grow closer to. They are exactly who they are. They are always on their track and nobody can take them o it. They are not easily swayed by what this person thinks or that one, they are so rooted. So, it’s inspiring as a young actor to be rooted in who I am.

You have a Netflix series coming up and a film. But you always somehow return to the theater for challenging and memorable roles. Why do you keep coming back and what about A Doll’s House, Part 2 makes it a must-see production for theater-goers to check out this season?

I come back to the theater because it’s my home, you know; It’s where I grew up. It’s my foundation as an actor. I felt that at this time where we are in our society, culturally, politically, socially, I can’t think of a more important time to bring forward this story about a powerful woman having to navigate through the constructs of modern society. Also, what I like about this piece is the writer has done a phenomenal job of not only presenting her side but every side, it’s going to welcome conversation.

Photo Credit: Matt Priestly