"Phylicia Rashad? Oh, she's legend. She's royalty. She is African-American royalty," said actress and singer Jenifer Lewis.
Rashad is also the director of "Joe Turner's Come and Gone." The play, by the late August Wilson, takes place in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911 as African-Americans head to more industrial cities in search of new opportunities.
"It's the writing, the words, the expression, the beauty, the story, the people. It's amazing. It's pretty wonderful," said Rashad.
Rashad's TV son, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, brought his real mom to the play's opening night on Wednesday.
"Obviously we're here to support Phylicia, and we're, you know, all excited, not just as friends and family, but as fans," said Warner.
Actress Debbie Allen said Rashad always exudes positive energy.
"People know a little bit about her as Clair Huxtable, but there's a whole 'nother world of Phylicia Rashad that people are just discovering," said Allen.
The play's cast includes Glynn Turman, Keith David and John Douglas Thompson.
"Joe Turner's Come and Gone" will be staying awhile. It runs through June 9 at the Mark Taper Forum.