Same play, different role: Actor Eugene Lee gains new perspective as Sgt. Waters


From witnessing white actors in blackface to seeing actual Black actors star on Broadway, Eugene Lee has seen the theater world change since he began his own career in the early 1970s. 

He got one of his first starring roles in the initial production of  “A Soldier’s Play” in 1981 when he portrayed Corporal Bernard Cobb.

The play uses the murder mystery of a sergeant at an all-black Louisiana Army base to explore the complicated feelings of anger and resentment that some Black soldiers displayed toward one another.

Now — over 40 years later — Lee, 69, is back in the play as Sgt.Waters on a national tour. As he reflects back on his journey as an actor, Lee says he has a greater appreciation for the opportunity.

“[The story] is from a time period that I’m familiar with. I’m old enough to be able to put my finger on the pulse of African-Americans during this time period,” he told QCity Metro. “That’s appealing to me to be able to communicate some history in a way.”

Starting out in the profession

Lee’s first attempt at acting came as a kid growing up in Fort Worth, T.X. when he performed in skits at his church. He once acted as a preacher in a Tom Thumb Wedding.





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