A new play about the life of Oscar winner and Tony nominee Sidney Poitier is in the works. Charles Randolph-Wright is writing Sidney, based on Poitier's best-selling autobiography The Measure of a Man, with Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson attached to direct.
Casting, additional creative team members, and a production timeline will be announced at a later date.
Randolph-Wright and Santiago-Hudson were selected by Poitier's family to create the play. Serving as producers for the project are Ron Gillyard; Poitier’s daughter, filmmaker Anika Poitier; and Barry Krost.
Sidney dramatizes Mr. Poitier's life, from his upbringing on Cat Island in the Bahamas to his rise to become one of America’s most revered performers, known for his work in movies like Lillies of the Field, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, and The Defiant Ones. In addition to his stage and screen work, the star was a vocal activist who dismantled racist barriers within the entertainment industry and beyond.
“The first time I met Sidney Poitier was decades ago when he saw a show I co-wrote and directed in Los Angeles,” said Randolph-Wright. “We went to dinner, and I literally could not speak. He said to me, ‘If in any way I have inspired you, you have more than paid me back with what I saw this evening.’ I have held onto those words my entire career. And now to place his astonishing life on stage is the ultimate challenge and the ultimate joy.”
Poitier made his Broadway debut in 1946 as Probulos in a production of Lysistrata. In 1960, he played Walter Lee Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, scoring a Tony nomination. The role would prove to be his last performance on the Main Stem before pivoting to film and TV work; he returned to direct a production of Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights in 1968.