Actress, Dean of Fine Arts at Howard University, Advocate for Children, Women's Issues & Fine Arts
An accomplished actor and stage director, Phylicia Rashad became a household name when she portrayed Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show, a character whose enduring appeal has earned her numerous honors and awards for over two decades.
An accomplished actor and stage director, Phylicia Rashad became a household name when she portrayed Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show, a character whose enduring appeal has earned her numerous honors and awards for over two decades. She has appeared as Carol on NBC’s This Is Us (2019 and 2020 Emmy nominations), Diana Dubois on the popular Fox TV series Empire, and as Dr. Woods-Trap in Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s Peabody Award-winning series David Makes Man, on the OWN Network. While television was a catalyst in the rise of Rashad’s career, she has also been a force on the stage, appearing both on and Off-Broadway, often in projects that showcase her musical talent such as Jelly’s Last Jam, Into the Woods, Dreamgirls and The Wiz*.
In 2016, Rashad was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and received the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play for her performance as Shelah in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes at the Public Theater, a role which she reprised at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Rashad performed the role of the Duchess of Gloucester in Richard II, the 2020 Shakespeare on the Radiocollaboration between The Public Theater and New York public radio station, WNYC.
Rashad received both the Drama Desk and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her riveting performance as Lena Younger in the 2004 Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun. Among Rashad’s film credits are Creed and Creed II, Just Wright, and Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf and the 2020 release, A Fall From Grace. Recent film projects include Black Box, the animated Pixar fantasy, Soul, and the Christmas musical, Jingle Jangle.
Rashad made her critically acclaimed directorial debut at the Seattle Repertory Theater with August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. She has also directed Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Our Lady of 121st Street at the Signature Theatre, The Roommate at Steppenwolf Theatre, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (2014 NAACP Theatre Award for Best Director) at the Mark Taper Forum, Immediate Family at the Taper and Goodman Theatre, Fences at the Long Wharf Theatre and McCarter Theatre, A Raisin in the Sun at Ebony Repertory Theatre, Kirk Douglas Theatre, and Westport Country Playhouse, and Four Little Girls at the Kennedy Center. She will direct an upcoming revival of Charles Randolph Wright’s Blue in New York in 2021.
Respected in the academic world, Rashad has conducted Master Classes at many colleges, universities, and arts organizations including Howard University, New York University, Carnegie Mellon, The Black Arts Institute of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and the prestigious Ten Chimneys Foundation established at the Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne Estate. Ms. Rashad also holds the distinction of being the first recipient of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre at Fordham University.
Rashad’s commitment to excellence in the performing arts has been recognized by the numerous colleges and universities that have presented her with Honorary Doctorates. Among them: The University of South Carolina at Columbia, Brown University, St. Augustine College, Providence College, Barber Scotia College, Clark Atlanta University, Morris Brown College, Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, and Fordham University. Rashad also received an Honorary Doctorate from Spelman College where First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the 2011 commencement address.
In 2015, Rashad received the BET Honors Theatrical Arts Award, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s Spirit of Shakespeare Award, and the Inaugural Legacy Award of the Ruben Santiago-Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center. Among the other awards that decorate her walls and shelves are the 2018 Will Award from Washington D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, the 2014 Mosaic Woman Legend Award of Diversity Woman Magazine, The Texas Medal of Arts, The National Council of Negro Women’s Dorothy L. Height Dreammaker Award, AFTRA’s AMEE Award for Excellence in Entertainment, New York Women in Film and Television’s Muse Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement, Dallas Women in Film Topaz Award, and the Pan African Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rashad also serves on a number of prestigious boards including Brainerd Institute Heritage (which is steering the restoration of Kumler Hall at the historic site of Brainerd Institute in Chester, South Carolina) and DADA-he Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
Since 2017, Rashad has been the Brand Ambassador of the National Trust for Historic Preservation African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. She is also a founding member of Black Theatre United (BTU). Ms. Rashad graduated Magna Cum Laude from Howard University and is the mother of two adult children. In 2021, Howard University announced Rashad has been appointed dean of the recently reestablished College of Fine Arts.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Taking Heart Disease Personally
Phylicia Rashad takes diabetes and heart disease personally. When she lost her father to heart disease related to his diabetes, she was spurred by that terrible loss to participate in a nationwide campaign to create awareness of the link between diabetes and heart disease. From her participation in that first campaign, and her dedication to the cause since, she shares what she learned from healthcare professionals, including what increases your risks of developing diabetes-related heart disease, how to recognize the symptoms – and what can be done to increase the odds of beating this deadly disease.
Inside TV: An Actor’s Perspective
Known as a role model for women on television, Rashad earned two Emmy nominations and the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Television Female Performer”. Recently, she became the first black actress to win a Tony award for a dramatic leading role in “Raisin in the Sun”. From a highly creative Houston family, Rashad graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in fine arts from Howard University. She is a recipient of Harvard University’s Foundation award and speaks fluent Spanish, having spent part of her childhood in Mexico.
Leading a Conscious Life: The Importance of Volunteerism
Enjoying Life’s Journey
Where the Women Go, the Culture Goes
How The Cosby Show Represented Race in America
Moderated Conversation with Phylicia Rashad
1 HOUR OR LESS