Chicago-native actor and rapper Common is playing one of the two lead characters in the upcoming Broadway production of “Between Riverside and Crazy” which will begin its run on Nov. 30 at the Hayes Theater, 240 West 44th St., New York City. After conquering music and acting in numerous hit films, he is now taking the limelight on the stage in what will be his theater debut.
“This has been a dream of mine for a very long time to act in a play, to do theater, and to be a part of a theater company,” he wrote on Instagram. “I am supremely grateful and overwhelmingly inspired to be a part of ‘Between Riverside and Crazy.’” The actor was so overwhelmed when he got the part. “When I got this role, I called my mother like I had gotten my first record contract,” Common described the moment. “It was that much joy. I have been told how hard the work is and that there’s nothing like it.”
The play is a dark comedy where Walter “Pops” Washington, played by Stephen McKinley Henderson (“Dune”), and his paroled son Junior, played by Common, fight to keep their home in the last rent-stabilized apartments on Riverside Drive. They struggle to keep the “old days” alive in a crashing wave of change while brushing with the city hall, their landlord who wants them out of their home, and their sketchy new houseguests. “For Pops and Junior, it seems the old days are dead and gone — after a lifetime living Between Riverside and Crazy,” the play’s description reads.
The play, written by Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by Austin Pendleton, also features Liza Colón-Zayas (“The Bear”), Victor Almanzar (“Homeland”) and Rosal Colón (“Orange is the New Black”). Catch a glimpse of “Between Riverside and Crazy” with this scene recording from the play’s 2015 production:
Lonnie Rashid Lynn, popularly known for his pseudonym Common, has won three Grammys for his song “Glory” with John Legend, “Southside” featuring Kanye West, and “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” with Erykah Badu. He similarly has starred in numerous hit films like the “John Wick” franchise, “Brown Sugar” (2002), and “Suicide Squad” (2016).