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In a recent interview with The Chicago Tribune, Winfrey, 57, states that a stint doing theater on Broadway is more than a pipe dream. "I have a stack of plays in my bag right now that I am reading," she says. "And just this past weekend, I was in New York meeting with producers. We were just talking about what would be the best route to take. But yes, this is really going to happen... Life is too short."
Winfrey is no stranger to Broadway, having produced the musical The Color Purple, 20 years after starring as Sofia in Steven Spielberg's film of the same name. But this will be the first time she actually enters the theater as an actress rather than a producer.
About two years ago Kenny Leon, director of such successful Broadway revivals as Fences and A Raisin in the Sun, had approached Winfrey to ask her to appear in Fences. Serious talks commenced, and Winfrey seemed quite interested -- but ultimately the grueling schedule for The Oprah Winfrey Show (which is filmed in Chicago) would not allow her to do it. Winfrey told the Tribune, "I had always wanted to do Fences. I went through the idea of trying to take my show to New York, shoot a show during the daytime and appear on Broadway at night. But I couldn't do it. And finally, Kenny said he couldn't wait any longer."
We still remember Winfrey's humorous, tragic and Oscar-nominated performance as Sofia in The Color Purple in 1985, and look forward to seeing Winfrey's name in lights on Broadway -- but Oprah insists she doesn't want to hog all the glory. "I think that an ensemble production is the way I should go," she says.
Whichever play Winfrey ends up choosing after the final episode of her show airs, one thing is certain: She is eager and ready to face this new phase in her life. "I want to wrap this up as it should be wrapped up," she says of her show. "'Let's land this plane,' I keep saying... And then it's time to do something for fun," she says. "This next phase of my life should be pure delight."