‘A Raisin in the Sun’ opens tonight at the Actors’ Warehouse

“A Raisin the Sun,” with, seated from left, Damodara Kovie, Tracy Barnwell-Anderson, Sanaa Sheppard and Danielle Butler; and, standing from left, Amanda Edwards, Bradley Small and Charlie Brown, opens tonight and runs through May 23 at the Actors’ Warehouse. (Aida Mallard/Correspondent)

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 12:46 p.m.

Hopes and dreams and family conflict are the themes explored in “A Raisin in the Sun,” a play by Lorraine Hansberry that debuted on Broadway in 1959, but is just as relevant today.


‘A Raisin in the Sun’

What: Lorraine Hansberry’s drama set in Chicago in the 1950s
When: 8 p.m. today through Saturday and May 30-31, 3 p.m. Sunday and June 2
Where: Actors’ Warehouse, 608 N. Main St.
Tickets: $15
Info: 222-3699, www.actorswarehouse.org

“A Raisin in the Sun” opens tonight and runs through June 2 at The Actors’ Warehouse, 608 N. Main St. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online and at the door.

“A Raisin in the Sun,” directed by L’Tanya Van Hamersveld, closes the 2012-2013 season of the Actors’ Warehouse. The play opened to great success on Broadway and was made into a motion picture in 1961 starring Sidney Poitier. The title of the play was taken from “A Dream Deferred,” a poem by Langston Hughes, the African-American poet, writer, playwright, columnist and social activist.

Hansberry was the first African-American female playwright to produce a drama on Broadway and the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle award.

The play, which is set on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s, opens with the Younger family about to receive a $10,000 insurance check. The plot revolves around the dreams and conflicts within three generations of the family.

They are: son Walter Lee, played by Bradley Small; his wife, Ruth, played by Amanda Edwards; his mom, Lena, played by Tracy Barnwell-Anderson; his sister, Beneatha, played by Danielle Butler; and his son, Travis, played by Sanaa Sheppard.

Others in the cast include Beneatha’s two suitors, George Murchison played by Charlie Brown and Joseph Asagai played by Tommie Barnwell, and Karl Lindner, a representative from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, played by Damodara Kovie.

Rhonda Wilson, founder of The Actors’ Warehouse and artistic director of the Spirit of Soul Repertory Company and the Star Center Children’s Theater, said “A Raisin in the Sun” centers on a family’s hopes and dreams.

“They all have their own dreams,” Wilson says. “It’s about wanting something and obstacles get in the way. The love of family is what holds it together.”

Van Hamersveld says the play is about an American family and the members’ problems when materialism gets in the way and ruins relationships.

“I hope they (those who will attend) take away how important families are,” says Van Hamersveld. “Family is the most important thing, and with family love, people can survive.”

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