A book length poem titled Montage of A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes gave the title to one of the most iconic plays seen in theatre. Lorraine Hansberry penned A Raisin in the Sun; a play that the New York Times claimed “changed American theatre forever.” They story of one family, conflicting dreams and the ultimate identity crisis, set smack in the middle of the pursuit of the American Dream; Hansberry’s play is a complex yet engrossing look into human nature. Now, back on Broadway for a limited second revival, A Raisin in the Sun is all set to enchant theatre enthusiasts yet again. Directed by Kenny Leon, with set designer Mark Thompson and costume designer Ann Roth, A Raisin in the Sun tickets promises a transformative experience for every audience.
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A Raisin In The Sun
The play follows the story of a poor, African American family, the Younger’s, who are living in despicable conditions in Chicago’s South side. Working a menial job, Walter, the bread earner of the family, barely makes enough money to push through to the end of the week. Living with his wife Ruth, son Travis, sister Beneatha and mother Mama, Walter dreams of making it big with a personal business. A chance to fullfill his dream comes as an insurance check arrives for Mama. With everyone dreaming of different uses for the cash, the audience is taken inside the complex fabric of a family dynamic full of conflict, varying dreams, and identity challenges. Walter wants quick success, Mama wants to secure the family’s future by buying a house in a white neighborhood and Beneatha wants to invest the money in her education to secure her personal future. Through the characters, we see social tensions, class friction and the penultimate strive for the perfect identity that comes at a cost of the rejection of heritage, tradition and culture. Hansberry raises important questions throughout the length of the play. Her ability to translate the problems of her time and her race into a timeless classic is testament to her prowess as a writer; her characters transcend racial and spacial boundaries to create a masterpiece which deals with issues that we, as a human race, still face today.
A Raisin in the Sun made its first debut on Broadway in 1959. The incredibly talented and critically revered super star, Sydney Poitier lent his acting ability to the character of Walter. The following year, it was nominated for four Tony Awards, including nominations for Best Play, Best Actor in Play, Best Actress in Play and Best Director. The play has also won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. This year, the play returns with another set of legendary actors and actresses that promise to deliver experiences just as riveting and extraordinarily moving as those given by Poitier and his colleagues. Two time Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington, is all set to take on the role of Walter Younger for this production. Along with Latanya Richardson Jackson, Sophie Okonedo and Anika Noni Rose (among various other celebrated performers), this play is perhaps one of the most anticipated productions of the season.
The pursuit of happiness, the willingness to dream and the uncertainty of the future all create an exceptional experience on stage. Middle-class problems, materialism, the ultimate quest for the American Dream and the question of identity all have become universally pertinent themes that are dealt with beautifully by Hansberry. As a story, the characters still hold relevance today; we are still pursuing the same dreams and facing the same hurdles. While the play might have been based on the problems faced by the African American community of that time, today, the play has become relatable for everyone. It doesn’t matter which race, religion, caste or creed the audience belongs to; what matters is that the audience, as a whole, can relate to the dreams and aspirations of the characters. And above all, they can relate to the struggle. With brilliant actors, superb direction and a story that will make you question the human condition; this is one play theatre enthusiasts cannot miss. A Raisin in the Sun tickets are now available for the 2014 Broadway run of this extraordinary play.