Sunday, February 24, 2008
A Raisin In The Sun Airs Tomorrow Night
This is the fifth time around for the acclaimed works by Lorraine Hansberry. The first time was the Broadway version. Then there is the classic 1961 version performed by Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Claudia McNeil, and Ivan Dixon. The third time Esther Rolle took on the role as “Mama”, with Danny Glover, Starletta DuPois, Helen Martin, and Joseph C. Phillips rounding out the cast.
In 2004 there was a Broadway run with the current cast, which consist of Phylicia Rashad in the role as the matriarch of the family, Sean “Puffy” Combs as “Walter Lee Younger”, Audra McDonald as “Ruth Younger”, and Sanaa Latham as “Beneatha Younger”. These folks will be reprising their roles tomorrow night. I must say that I am looking forward to this televised version of the play and I am glad this is being shown February 25, 2008 during African American History month. I have compiled some fact about the play and the playwright.
1. Lorraine Hansberry, the writer of the play, succumbed to cancer at the age of thirty-four.
2. The original “Beneatha Younger”, Diana Sands also passed away of cancer at the age of age of 39 while making the film “Claudine” in which she was the lead. She was replaced by Diahann Carroll.
3. A theatre in Wisconsin, the Hansberry-Sands Theatre, was so named in tribute to them both.
4. The major conflict in the story is the Youngers, a working-class black family, struggle against economic hardship and racial prejudice.
5. The theme of the play is the value and purpose of dreams, the need to fight racial discrimination, the importance of family.
6. The rising action is Ruth discovering that she is pregnant; Mama making a down payment on a house and giving Walter the remaining insurance money; Walter investing the money in the liquor store venture.
7. The falling action is Walter refusing Mr. Lindner’s offer to not move; the Youngers moving out of the apartment to their new house in the white neighborhood; Beneatha finding new strength in Asagai.
I know that Phylicia Rashaad, Sanaa Latham, and Audra McDonald are up for the challenge. I am concerned about Sean Combs because Sidney Poitier's shoes are very difficult to fill. The show airs Monday, February 25th at 8:00 EST. Please check out the trailer for the film and ignore the first minute, which consist of Sean Combs rambling.