The New York Times called A Raisin in the Sun, "The play that changed American theater forever." How many
times can a play make such a profound change to theater's landscape? For years audiences have been moved and gained a new
perspective on the power and importance of theater with almost every stage production under the sun. There is no doubt that
the Dallas Theatre Center production of A Raisin in the Sun will do the same. The production will run from September 13-October
27 with both matinee and evening showings. The play will be presented in rep with Clybourne Park, a Tony Award- and Pulitzer-Prize-winning
play that is written by Bruce Norris and inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun through its examination of events
that led to its story. The cast of Clybourne Park features several cast members seen in A Raisin in the Sun and the same set
design, making a showing of both a reflective theater experience. Please note that the play contains adult language; therefore,
it is recommended for ages 12 and above.
The title, A Raisin in the Sun, is a reference to a Langston
Hughes poem, "A Dream Deferred." That is, the line "does a dream deferred dry up like a raisin in the sun?" Lorraine Hansberry
wrote A Raisin in the Sun, which premiered on March 18, 1959 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The story is set in 1950s Chicago
on the south side of town. It follows the lives of the Youngers, an African American family. At the start of the play, it
seems that the shared dreams and ambitions are possible due to a large amount money that are awaiting. Unfortunately, as each
individual family member makes plans on how to spend their share of the wealth, their dreams lay on the line.
the 1950s when A Raisin in the Sun was ready for production, it was deemed a risky investment due to its mostly African-American
cast. It took its producer, Phil Rose, an entire year to raise the necessary funds to move forward. Its initial preview received
mixed reviews, it since received critical acclaim. A Raisin in the Sun was the first play to be written by a black woman to
be produced on Broadway. What is more is that it is the first play to be produced by a black director on Broadway, Lloyd Richards.
A Raisin in the Sun ended a record-breaking Broadway run in 2004, there is already talk of its Broadway revival. While Sean
Combs played Walter in the initial run, this Spring, the Tony Award-winning actor, Denzel Washington taking on the role. The
revival production will start previews on March 8 and run through June 15 at the Barrymore Theatre. The play nominated for
four Tony Awards in 1960: Best Play, Best Actor in a Play (Sidney Poitier), Best Actress in a Play (Claudia McNeil) and Best
Direction (Lloyd Richards). The play was adapted to a motion picture in 1961 and later to a television movie starring Sean
(P. Diddy) Combs and Audra McDonald. The 2004 Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun again starred both Sean (P. Diddy) Combs
and Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad and Sanaa Lathan. This cast received won the play two Tony Awards: Phylicia Rashad
won Best Actress in a Play and Audra McDonald won Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Interestingly, A Raisin in the Sun
shares similarities to the life of its author, Lorraine Hansberry. Hansberry's family was involved in a lawsuit (Hansberry
v. Lee, 311 U.S. 32) in 1940. The author's father spent his lifetime working in association with attorneys from the NAACP
to change the restrictive covenants in Chicago. Her family lived in a property that she described as a "hellishly hostile
'white neighborhood'." By living in this neighborhood to make a stand against what was considered white supremacy, Hansberry
recalls being spat on and even pummeled on her journey to school and back. Since that time the Hansberry house has now become
what the Chicago City Council's Committee on Historical Landmarks Preservation consider to be a landmark.
Dallas Theatre Center's A Raisin in the Sun's cast of the Younger family includes: Christopher Adkins as Travis Younger, Tiffany
Hobbs as Beneatha Younger), Justise Maon as Travis Younger, Liz Mikel as Lena Younger, Ptosha Storey as Ruth Younger and Bowman
Wright as Walter Lee Younger. They are joined by Hassan El-Amin, McClendon Giles, William Sinclair Moore, Jakeem Powell, OluwaSeun
Soyemi and Steven Michael Walters.
The stellar creative design team at the Dallas Theatre
Center not only envisioned how it was possible, but effectively collaborated on how to make two plays (A Raisin in the Sun
and Clybourne Park) come to life on one stage. The team includes: Bob Lavallee (Scenic Designer), Barb Hicks (Production Manager),
Kenneth Farnsworth (Assistant Lighting Designer), Karen Perry (Costume Designer), Harriet Bass Casting (New York Casting),
Leslie S. Allen (Stage Manager), Seth Reiser (Lighting Designer), Tiffany Hobbs (Local Casting), Jasmin Holton (Production
Assistant), John Flores (Sound Designer), Dr. Anne Healy (Assistant Director), John Leos (Child Supervisor), Valerie Gladstone
(Wig and Hair Designer) and Sara Dillinger (Assistant Scenic Designer).