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A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: Lorraine Hansberry
Publisher: Samuel French (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 163
Pub. Date: 2010
Edition: Revised
ISBN-10: 0573614636
ISBN-13: 9780573614637
Cast Size: 3 female, 7 male, 1 boy

About the Play:

A Raisin in the Sun was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

A Raisin in the Sun has long been a favourite of acting teachers for male monologues, female/male scenes, and three-person scenes.

A Raisin in the Sun is a full-length drama by Lorraine Hansberry. This American classic tells the story of the Youngers, an inner-city African-American family trying to buy a house in a predominantly white Chicago neighbourhood. They discover that their fight against the racists in the neighborhood demands a greater commitment than they realized.

A Raisin in the Sun follows the Youngers, a family composed of powerful individuals who are yet in many ways typical in their dreams and frustrations. The title – taken from Langston Hughes's poem "A Dream Deferred" – suggests the festering passions and resentments unleashed in its dialogue. Set on Chicago's South Side, the plot revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee Jr, his wife Ruth, his sister Beneatha, his son Travis and matriarch Lena. When Mama Lena receives a life insurance check from the death of her husband, Walter Lee Sr., she dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighbourhood in Chicago. Walter Lee Jr., a chauffeur, has other plans, however: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha, an eternal student, dreams of medical school. The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama. Sacrifice, trust and love among the Younger family and their heroic struggle to retain dignity in a harsh and changing world is a searing and timeless document of hope and inspiration. Since its landmark premiere on Broadway in 1959, A Raisin in the Sun has been a staple of the American stage and has resonated with generations of theatergoers. A powerful portrait of a family caught up in the pursuit of the American dream and the hope of a better life, Hansberry's play invites us to consider why the dreams of some are realized while those of others are, in the words of Langston Hughes, "dreams deferred."

A Raisin in the Sun premiered in 1959 on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City. It was the first play written by a Black woman to be produced on Broadway, as well as the first with a Black director, Lloyd Richards. At the age of 29, she won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Awardmaking her the first African-American dramatist, the fifth woman, and the youngest playwright to do so. It was revived on Broadway in 2004, starring Phylicia Rashad, who became the first black woman to receive a Tony Award for best performance by a leading actress. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, middle school, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Looking for a play to read? A pioneering work by an African-American playwright, the play was a radically new representation of black life. The struggles of Walter Lee Younger Jr. as he navigates the transition into manhood has been interpreted by actors as disparate as Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Sean Combs.

Cast: 3 female, 7 male, 1 boy

What people say:

"Pivotal play in the history of the American Black theatre." — Newsweek

"A milestone in the American Theatre." — Ebony

"...changed American theater forever." — The New York Times

"The power and craft of the writing make A Raisin in the Sun as moving today as it was then." — The Guardian

About the Playwright:

Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) was an African-American playwright and author of political speeches, letters, and essays. She also worked at the Pan-Africanist newspaper Freedom. Her best known work, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first play by an African-American woman produced on Broadway.

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