See Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece off Broadway for the first time in more than 40 years, and for the first time ever at The Public Theater. Get A Raisin in the Sun tickets on TodayTix.
Whether you read the play in high school, saw one of its acclaimed Broadway runs, or watched one of the film adaptations, you know A Raisin in the Sun as Hansberry’s most famous and enduring work. See what scholars and critics have called one of the best plays ever written, whose story of a Black family facing financial hardship and housing discrimination is as resonant now as in 1959. And Hansberry isn’t the only theatre great associated with this production: Tony nominee Robert O’Hara directs, and Tony winner Tonya Pinkins stars as the Younger family matriarch, Lena.
The A Raisin in the Sun play begins when Lena receives a life insurance check from her husband’s death. It’s enough money for her and the family — her grown children Walter and Beneatha, daughter-in-law Ruth, and grandson Travis — to get out of poverty and leave their two-bedroom apartment on Chicago’s South Side. But the ambitious Walter has other ideas for his cut of the money, and the Youngers’ prospective neighbors, in an all-white neighborhood where Lena finds a new house, aren’t keen on having them there.
A Raisin in the Sun questions the American Dream, who can achieve it, and what a person might be asked to give up — their heritage, their integrity — to do so. More than 60 years after the premiere of A Raisin in the Sun in New York, people are still asking those questions.
Get A Raisin in the Sun tickets on TodayTix now.
2 hrs, 50 mins (with intermission)
September 27th, 2022
November 20th, 2022
100 reviews on Show-Score
By: Lorraine Hansberry
Producer: The Public Theater
Director: Robert O'Hara
Cast list: Tonya Pinkins (as Lena Younger), Francois Battiste (as Walter Lee Younger), Paige Gilbert (as Beneatha Younger), Mandi Masden (as Ruth Younger), Toussaint Battiste and Camden McKinnon (as Travis Younger alternates, John Clay III (as Joseph Asagai), Calvin Dutton (as Bobo), Mister Fitzgerald (as George Murchison), Perri Gaffney (as Mrs. Johnson), Jesse Pennington (as Karl Lindner), Skyler Gallun, N’yomi Stewart
Lighting: Alex Jainchill
Sound: Elisheba Ittoop
Design: Clint Ramos
Costume: Karen Perry
Other info: Sound system design by Will Pickens, hair and wig design by Nikiya Mathis, video design by Brittany Bland, fight and intimacy direction by Teniece Divya Johnson, movement direction by Rickey Tripp
Accessible entrances, seating, and restrooms. Assistive Listening Devices. ASL interpreted, Open Caption and Audio Descriptions at select performances or on demand by request.
A Raisin in the Sun is now an American classic, but in the 1950s, when the Civil Rights Movement was still in progress, the show was a risk. Producers were wary of presenting a play with a nearly all-Black cast to nearly all-white audiences, and it took a year and a half to raise the money. But the investment paid off. A Raisin in the Sun received positive reviews and made a star out of Sidney Poitier, who led the original production and subsequent film adaptation as Walter.
A Raisin in the Sun was also the first Broadway play by a Black woman, and the first with a Black director: Lloyd Richards, who got a Best Direction Tony nomination. The show received four Tony nominations in 1960; the others were Best Play, Best Actor for Poitier, and Best Actress for Claudia McNeil as Lena.
There have been three productions of A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway. The 2004 revival made Phylicia Rashad, as Lena, the first Black actress to win the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play, and earned Audra McDonald, as Ruth, her fourth Tony. The 2014 revival won Best Revival of a Play, and Sophie Okenedo and Kenny Leon won Tonys for performance and direction, respectively.
Hansberry’s show is partly inspired by Hansberry v. Lee, a 1940 court case involving her father. He wanted to buy a home in a certain Chicago neighborhood, and went to court to challenge a contract that disallowed Black people from doing so. He was allowed to dispute the contract even though a previous ruling had upheld it, but it wasn’t until 1948 that housing discrimination contracts like those were ruled unconstitutional.
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