This image released by Philip Rinaldi Publicity shows Sophie Okonedo, left, and Denzel Washington during a performance of "A Raisin in the Sun," at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York. (AP Photo/Philip Rinaldi Publicity, Brigitte Lacombe)
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Like an athlete in training and currently dressed the part, Washington has poured himself into the work, filling two composition books with notes and leaving every page of his script highlighted, underlined or annotated.The first notebook starts with the poem "A Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes, the work that helped inspire the play, which Washington has handwritten. Washington plays Walter Lee, a chauffeur with dreams of opening a liquor store, a role made famous by Sidney Poitier, who played it in the original 1959 production and reprised it in a 1961 movie. In a twist, this revival is in the same theater where Poitier debuted the play. How far has Washington gone in his research? As a young man, Washington once caught James Earl Jones star in "Oedipus the King" uptown and then sneaked into Jones' dressing room, where he hung out as the older actor greeted well-wishers.This time on Broadway, Washington has changed a few things, starting with his Playbill bio, which had grown unwieldy.
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