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Award-Winning Actress Phylicia Rashad Returns To Her Bayou City Roots

Tony Award-winning actress and Houston native, Phylicia Rashad, returns to the Bayou City to join the Houston Symphony to narrate a version of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio.

FILE– Phylicia Rashad speaks on stage at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Sunday, June 29, 2014, in Los Angeles.

This is News 88-7 In-Depth. I’m Morning News Anchor, Eddie Robinson.

You may remember one of the most beloved, iconic mothers of television, Claire Huxtable, from the hit TV series, The Cosby Show back in the 80s.

Mrs. Huxtable was, of course, played by Phylicia Rashad. She spent part of her early childhood right here in Houston. She’s returning this weekend to join the Houston Symphony to narrate a version of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio.

Earlier, I spoke with Rashad by phone from New York. She told me about growing up in the Third Ward and her time as a sixth-grader in elementary school.

PR: “I was a student at GBM Turner. Mrs. Vivian Harrison was my music teacher. And there were two other teachers: there was Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Woodruff, and they were grooming me. They were grooming me to be the narrator for a citywide music festival that included the elementary schools all over this city and that was taking place over at the Houston Coliseum. And I thought about that: you see how things that you were involved in in the earlier parts of life really prepare you for where you are now.”

ER: When someone says, “Houston”—what comes to mind?

PR: “I think of my father, Dr. Andrew A. Allen. I think of his associates who were members of the Charles A. George Dental Society there in Houston, Texas. I think about every summer on June 19, my birthday, there would be the dental picnic and it was a grand affair with fun and food and games all day long. I remember Houston as a place that was great to grow up in. I remember being challenged intellectually by the conversations that my parents were having with their peers and by the teachers who insisted on excellence because they believed in us. And they knew where we lived.”

ER: You’ve worked for a number of years with actor Bill Cosby. He’s been the subject of very publicized sexual assault allegations recently with a potential trial slated for June. Many have looked up to him as a hero of some sort. Could you offer up some kind of inspiration to those who really have a difficult time making sense out of all this? How should one move forward here?

PR: “I’m going to answer your question with a question because your question seems to indicate to me that you have accepted certain things as facts that have not been proved. So my question is: What happens in a country defined by high principles and tenets when people in this country, defined by high principles and tenets, disavow them. And what I’m referring to right now is the right to a fair and unbiased trial—innocent until proved guilty. What happens in a country, during this time of technology, when anything can spread so fast, when you just accept what you hear? Think about that.”

[music: Fidelio from the Houston Symphony]

That was Tony Award-winning actress and Houston native, Phylicia Rashad. She joins the cast of Beethoven’s Fidelio – this Friday night and Sunday, March 31 & April 2, at the Houston Symphony.

I’m Eddie Robinson… News 88-7.

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Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson

Morning News Anchor

A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While the state's governor nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy, Eddie had an extreme passion for broadcast media, particularly...

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