Rap mogul SEAN 'P DIDDY' COMBS was dumbfounded backstage at his Broadway, New York show A Raisin in the Sun on Wednesday (30JUN04) when soul legend Aretha Franklin personally praised his performance.

The hip-hop star - who has attracted widespread acclaim for his stage debut and has helped break the ROYALE THEATRE's ticket sales records - was delighted when the I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER singer made the special trip to meet him just to shower him with compliments.

Big screen stars Samuel L Jackson, Lauren Bacall and Claire Danes also attended the Wednesday night performance to check out Combs' acting ability.

Last month (JUN04) Combs was forced to take a break from the show - which ends its Broadway run on 11 July (04) - after falling ill with stomach flu.

The rapper portrays frustrated limousine driver WALTER LEE YOUNG in the revival of Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 play about a working-class family in Chicago, Illinois.

02/07/2004 17:17