A RAISIN IN THE SUN" STILL POWERFUL THEATER AFTER FIVE DECADES


BONNIE GOLDBERG

A small plant sits on the window sill of Lena Younger's Chicago apartment in 1959, struggling to catch the sun's rays and thrive. As the matriarch of the three generations of Youngers, Lena knows that changes are undermining her loved ones and their dreams. Will the check for $10,000 from her husband's life insurance policy be the promised solution to all their prayers?

 

More than five decades ago Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" debuted on Broadway, and now you have the opportunity to view this timeless classic at Westport Country Playhouse until Saturday, November 3, with an exceptional cast, under the skilled direction of Phylicia Rashad.

 

To Lena, a stately and wise Lynda Gravatt, the check means a new home in a better neighborhood, where her daughter Beneatha and grandson Travis can have a bedroom of their own and she can have a small spit of land to plant a garden. Her daughter-in-law Ruth, an accommodating Susan Kelechi Watson, shares Lena's dream of a home but also wants her sister-in-law Beneatha, a fiery and opinionated Edena Hines, to earn her coveted medical degree. She also hopes her husband Walter, a conflicted Billy Eugene Jones, can have a business of his own.

 

For Walter, the check represents his manhood and when Lena refuses him, he is shattered. These are proud people, descended from slaves and sharecroppers, who want to improve their lot as domestics and chauffeurs to guarantee Travis, an eager to please Luka Kain, a better future.

 

Into their lives comes Beneatha's two suitors, the rich and conservative Mr. Murchison (Gabriel Brown) and the idealistic progressive Mr. Asagai (Hubert Point-Du Jour), Walter's partner in business Bobo (Alvin Crawford) and the real estate representative Mr. Lindner (John Hemphill) who has an agenda all his own.

 

Will life continue to be "a barrel of disappointments" or will hope bring promise, happiness and sunshine into their days? Does Lena have the power to make everyone in the Younger family find joy?

 

For tickets ($30 and up, students $15), call Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off route I, Westport at 203-227-4177 or 888-927-7529 or online at www.westportplayhouse.org. Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

 

Watch how a windfall of money, with its mighty and endless possibilities, changes a family's dynamics. Discover for yourself if each of their dreams is destined to be denied and dry up like a raisin in the sun.

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