“It's definitely for me one of the most challenging projects I've ever taken on as an actor,” Washington tells TODAY Show viewers of starring in the new Broadway play American Son, which she also produces. “It's very special to me. It's a really beautiful play about parenting and about love and about identity and race. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world that I get to do it eight times a week and also it's really hard.”
The new play, currently in previews, officially opens November 4 at the Booth Theatre and also stars Steven Pasquale, Eugene Lee, and Jeremy Jordan. “The entire cast is extraordinary,” she says, “and we really have gotten very close.”
Written by Christopher Demos-Brown, the play takes place in a police station as a black mother (Washington) and white father (Pasquale) worry about and react to the disappearance of their son.
“The play is people having very private conversations in public,” Washington continues. “Four people with very very very different opinions and viewpoints on the world all sharing their opinions with each other. It's exciting and different. I've never seen anything like it. I've never played a character like this before.
“We sit in a theatre and listen to people who believe things that are on the opposite ends of the spectrum of identity but we hear them and we allow them to matter to us—all four of these people,” she adds. “We don't make enough time to listen to people who we consider other—no matter who we are.”
The play runs for a limited engagement scheduled through January 27, 2019. And as Washington says, “The play is teaching me so much every day.”