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“It was such a surprise,” says James Freydberg, producer of the L. staging of The Vagina Monologues, in which Phylicia costarred last fall.“She gave not the slightest sign [of trouble].” Both Rashads are familiar with the distress of separation.Off-Broadway credits include Lincoln Center’s productions of Cymbeline and Bernarda Alba; Helen, The Story and Everybody's Ruby at the Public Theater; The Negro Ensemble Company productions of Puppet Play, Zooman and the Sign, Sons and Fathers of Sons, In an Upstate Motel, Weep Not For Me, and The Great Mac Daddy; Lincoln Center's production of Ed Bullins' The Duplex; and The Sirens at the Manhattan Theatre Club.In regional theatre, she performed as Euripides' Medea and in Blues for an Alabama Sky at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Rashad was the first black actress of any nationality to win the Best Actress (Play) Tony Award, which she won for her 2004 performance as Lena Younger in a revival of the play A Raisin in the Sun by playwright Lorraine Hansberry.She was dubbed "The Mother" of the African-American community at the 2010 NAACP Image Awards.In 2004, Rashad became the first black actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, which she won for her role in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun.“They’ve been living separate lives for some time now,” a friend told New York’s Daily News, “but they held off on filing for the sake of their daughter.” So far, Phylea, 14, remains with her mother.Still, the breakup of the couple, who were introduced by Bill Cosby in 1984, was unexpected.
She will soon cohost benefits for Broadway Cares and breast cancer, her film The Visit opens in April, and this summer she will appear in Blue, an Off-Broadway comedy.
Ahmad was divorced in the early ’80s from Dierdre Waters, with whom he had three children, now grown.