05/31/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT
The box office is booming for Broadway's A Raisin in the Sun
because of its star, rapper-turned-actor Sean "P. Diddy
" Combs. But onstage, triumph belongs to Sanaa Lathan, who—along with costars Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad—scored a Tony nomination May 10 as a headstrong young woman at the dawn of the civil rights movement. When nominations were announced, "I was like, 'What happened?' " says Lathan, 32. "Then I realized. I'm still waking up.... Is this a dream?" Though raised by director-producer dad Stan Lathan and actress-dancer mom Eleanor McCoy, "I was a real brainy kid, so I wanted to do something more 'respectable,' " says Lathan, who considered becoming a lawyer before following her heart into acting. Roles in 2000's Love & Basketball and 2003's Out of Time got her noticed. Then a "very technical" and long Prague shoot for August's Alien vs. Predator
inspired her to return to the stage. Lathan says she's "too busy to look" for a mate. "He'll find me when it's the right time." For now, she'll make do with a nod from Tony.