A Raisin in the Sun follows the Younger family—Walter, Ruth, their son Travis, and Walter’s mother Lena and sister Beneatha—as they struggle to retain their dignity and realize the American dream.
The family lives in a run-down two bedroom apartment on Chicago’s South Side, and Lena plans to use her recently-deceased husband’s life insurance money to move the family to a house in a nicer part of town. Walter and Beneatha have their own ideas about what to do with the money: Walter wants to invest it in a liquor store while Beneatha wants to use it to pay for medical school. Lena takes a portion of the money to provide the down payment on a house and gives the rest to Walter to invest and put towards Beneatha’s education. When Walter loses the money to an unscrupulous business partner, the family is left with nothing but their new home—which is in an all-white neighborhood. When a representative of the neighborhood association arrives and offers to buy them out, the Youngers must decide whether they will defer their dream for money or move into the house regardless of the resulting racial tension.
A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959 and was the first play on Broadway authored by an African-American woman, as well as the first Broadway play with an African-American director. Lorraine Hansberry drew on many of her own experiences as inspiration for the piece. Hansberry’s family moved into a house in an all-white neighborhood when she was young, and her father was part of a lawsuit regarding racially restrictive housing covenants that was argued before the Supreme Court in 1940.
The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance will present A Raisin in the Sun at the Bonstelle Theatre February 12th – 21st, 2016. Please join us for this integral piece of the American dramatic canon. The theatre awaits!
Bruce Norris’ drama Clybourne Park, written in response to Raisin, will be produced at the Hilberry Theatre in February, March, and April of 2016. Read more about Clybourne Park here.