It’s been several decades since A Raisin in the Sun played the City of Brotherly Love, but that long absence is about to be filled when this classic drama appears at Arden Theatre Company, starting March 7.
The storyline is now familiar to many: A poor black family decides to change its lot in life with proceeds from its patriarch’s life insurance policy. The mother wants to use half the money as a down payment on a nicer house. The year is 1959, however, and the house she wants to move into is an all white neighborhood. Her children, especially her son, prefer the money be spent in other ways.
The dialogue and action revolves around dream and conflicts of the mother and her children; how they see themselves and the world they live in, as well mistakes made and a neighborhood’s desire to remain segregated.
Written by playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry, when A Raisin in the Sun, premiered in 1959 it was the first time an African American female playwright was produced on Broadway. The show was nominated for four Tony Awards, and went on to become a film starring Sidney Poitier.
Arden’s production is directed by Walter Dallas, who is also known to Philadelphia audiences as the past Artistic Director of Freedom Theatre, Pennsylvania’s first African American theatre. For A Raisin in the Sun, Dallas reunites with several actors who he worked with at Freedom Theatre.
And while circumstances have certainly changed since the play made its landmark impact on American theater, this searing drama still packs a powerful punch.
A Raisin in the Sun
When: March 7 – April 21
Where: Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd Street
More info: www.ardentheatre.org