Considered by many to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th century, A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry's powerful drama, will open Friday, February 1 (8PM) at Palm Beach Dramaworks' Don & Ann Brown Theatre (201 Clematis Street). The production will play a strictly limited engagement through March 3, with specially priced preview performances on January 30 & 31. For twelve years, West Palm Beach's only professional, multi-award-winning resident theatre has brought to the Palm Beaches a distinguished roster of plays under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director William Hayes.
Set in the 1950s on the South Side of Chicago, A Raisin In The Sun is the story of the Younger family, and their receipt of a substantial insurance payment that leads to life-changing decisions. The play is inspired, in part, by the experience of Hansberry's family when her parents purchased a house in a "white neighborhood." As the Youngers argue over how best to use the money, the drama addresses issues that were rarely discussed at that time, including women's rights and black identity. The play's title comes from the poem "Harlem," also known as "A Dream Deferred," by Langston Hughes.
Directed by Seret Scott, the production features Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Shirine Babb, Pat Bowie, Marckenson Charles, Ethan Henry, Dave Hyland, Mcley LaFrance, Jordan Tisdale, Mekiel Benjamin, Joshua Valbrun, Lanardo Davis and Jeffrey Brazzle. Set design is by Paul DePoo, costume design by Brian O'Keefe, lighting design by Joseph P. Oshry, and sound design by Rich Szczublewski.
Guest director Seret Scott directed a dozen productions for San Diego's Old Globe Theatre while serving as an associate artist. Off-Broadway, she directed the premiere of Mujeres Y Hombres at the New Victory Theater,Birdie Blue and Zooman And The Sign for Second Stage, and Yohen for Pan Asian Rep. Scott's work has also been seen at Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Ford's Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, National Black Theatre Festival, and American Conservatory Theater, among many others. She is a former director in residence at New Dramatists, and a Drama Desk Award-winning actress.
Lorraine Hansberry was a playwright, author, and activist. The granddaughter of a freed slave, she grew up in a middle-class, activist family in Chicago. After moving to New York, Hansberry worked for a time at Paul Robeson's progressive black newspaper, Freedom, first as a writer and then as an associate editor. She completed A Raisin in the Sun in 1957, but it took producer Philip Rose well over a year to raise the money to bring the play to Broadway. The original production, directed by Lloyd Richards, opened on March 11, 1959 with a cast that included Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Louis Gossett and John Fiedler. It was the first play produced on Broadway written by an African-American woman, and the first directed by an African-American man. Hansberry went on to become the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York Drama Critics' Circle award.
Palm Beach Dramaworks' season will continue with Exit the King by Eugene Ionesco (March 29 - April 28), and Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel (May 24 - June 16).
Palm Beach Dramaworks is a non-profit, professional theatre and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the South Florida Theatre League, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Florida Professional Theatres Association, Florida Theatre Conference, and the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.
The performance schedule is as follows: Evening performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8PM and Sunday at 7PM. Matinee performances are on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2PM.Individual tickets are $55 for all performances. Student tickets are available for $10. Group rates for 20 or more and discounted season subscriptions are also available.
The Don & Ann Brown Theatre is located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, at 201 Clematis Street. For ticket information contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, open Monday from 10AM to 5PM, Tuesday through Saturday from 10AM to 6PM, and Sunday from 11AM to 5PM, or visit www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.