|Publisher:||Random House Inc|
|Publish Date:||Sep 1995|
|Number of Pages:||176|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.5|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.0 x 7.5 x 0.75|
American playwright Lorraine Hansberry was born on May 19, 1930 in Chicago. After attending the University of Wisconsin for two years and then studying painting in Chicago and Mexico, Hansberry moved to New York in 1950. There she held a number of odd jobs to make ends meet while trying to establish her writing career. Hansberry wrote her first play A Raisin in the Sun in 1959. The first drama by a black woman to be produced on Broadway.
A Raisin in the Sun tells the story of a working-class black family in Chicago. The production won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, and in 1961, the film version, starring Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee, received a special award at the Cannes Film Festival. Hansberry's next play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, a drama set in Greenwich Village, had a short run on Broadway in 1964. Hansberry's promising career was tragically cut short by her premature death on January 12, 1965. She was 34 years old. The plays To Be Young, Gifted and Black and Les Blancs were adapted from Hansberry's early writings by her ex-husband Robert Nemiroff. Both plays were produced off-Broadway, in 1969 and 1970 respectively.
Hansberry's (1930-65) landmark play tells the story of the Youngers, an African American family living in a run-down apartment in Chicago, who are about to inherit $10, 000 from an insurance policy following the death of the family patriarch. As their dreams clash, the family's hopes for a better life threaten to dry up like "a raisin in the sun". Over 50 years after the play debuted, its words continue to resonate as unemployment, inflation, identity theft, and corrupt mortgage brokers have shattered the dreams of many.
In this production starring Rutina Wesley of HBO's True Blood and a full cast, the individual performances-e. g., that by Judyann Elder, who plays Lena (Mama)-are exceptional, but the dynamic of the cast as a whole is lacking. Lines are sometimes shouted and overacted, as if the actors are more concerned with voice projection than the content and context of their roles. Overall, a decent production of a groundbreaking play but with room for improvement. An alternate full-cast recording of this play, starring Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, is available from Recorded Books.
[See Audio NewsBriefs, LJ 2/1/11.-Ed.] - Valerie Piechocki, Prince George's Cty. Memorial Lib., Largo, MD
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"Never before, the entire history of the American theater, has so much of the truth of black people's lives been seen on the stage," observed James Baldwin shortly before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959.
Indeed Lorraine Hansberry's award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago connected profoundly with the psyche of black America--and changed American theater forever. The play's title comes from a line in Langston Hughes's poem "Harlem," which warns that a dream deferred might "dry up/like a raisin in the sun."
"The events of every passing year add resonance to A Raisin in the Sun," said The New York Times. "It is as if history is conspiring to make the play a classic." This Modern Library edition presents the fully restored, uncut version of Hansberry's landmark work with an introduction by Robert Nemiroff.
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