08.19.2019

In ‘Sweet Lorraine’ play, actress Valisia LeKae immortalizes Hansberry’s cancer battle – after enduring one of her own

In ‘Sweet Lorraine’ play, actress Valisia LeKae immortalizes Hansberry’s cancer battle – after enduring one of her own Photo by Jonathon Charles Demske

Valisia LeKae is living proof that life imitates art.

The Grammy and Tony Award-nominated actress, who wowed crowds as Diana Ross with her acclaimed Broadway leading debut in 2013’s “Motown The Musical,” is taking on another real-life star with her latest role.

This time, it’s Lorraine Hansberry, who penned the show “A Raisin in the Sun” in 1959. She was the first African-American to have a play produced on Broadway.

The Chicago native died of pancreatic cancer in 1965.

Portraying Hansberry in the off-Broadway show hit home for LeKae — who revealed her own cancer diagnosis on social media five months after making a splash as the Supremes’ frontwoman.

“What really resonated with me with the fact that she passed away from cancer at 34, and I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 34,” LeKae told The Daily News. “So, I thought, "This will be a great opportunity for me to pick up the mantle where she left off and continue her legacy and the fight and to tell her story so we can all relate to it.”

For the full story, visit NYDailyNews.com/Entertainment/Broadway.