NEW YORK -- Common has won Grammys, a Golden Globe, and even an Oscar. Now, he has a chance to win a Tony Award because the entertainer is making his Broadway debut this month in a play set right here in NYC.
He's been a rapper and a writer and won his Oscar for co-writing the song "Glory" with John Legend for the movie "Selma."
During a recent conversation, Common told me preparing for his Broadway debut required more discipline and increased concentration. "I come from a world where you can kind of improv and stuff, but in the theater, it's like 'stick to the word!' If there's a 'the' there, you have to say 'the'... This is a new arena, a new space for me. I'm here to present myself and be part of this and grow and learn."
Common asked the members of the cast to call him by his real name, Rashid. "And he's a beautiful human being," said his co-star, Stephen McKinley Henderson.
He returns to the role he played Off-Broadway in 2014 where we met up with him for a tour of the set.
Then as now, Henderson plays an NYPD cop forced to retire. Common appears opposite the veteran actor as his son. "He brings himself humbly to it and his victories, we all celebrate, and he's going to be triumphant."
His character has just been released from jail, and Common brings special empathy to the role due to his charity work in prisons.
"My work with people who are incarcerated truly helped me prepare for this role," he told me. "The work that I have done with people who are incarcerated has changed my life. It made me see life in new ways. It made me look at human beings in new ways. Because of my connection with people who have been incarcerated, and the work that I've been able to do in just listening to them, I get to express that in a way onstage."
Tickets to see the play are available now on the 2nd Stage website.