Lorraine Hansberry’s classic drama “A Raisin in the Sun,” comes to life on stage in a partnership production by The Lewis and Shirley White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City (The J) and the Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City (BRTKC). The show will open on Saturday, March 11 (7:30 p.m.) and runs through Sunday, March 26. In addition to the regular performances, four student matinees will be offered throughout the week. Tickets are now available at TheWhiteTheatre.org.
Student Matinees feature special student matinee pricing at $5 with no charge for chaperones and teachers. These shows are geared toward student groups. Home-school groups are welcome. There will be a short Q&A with the cast after each student matinee.
“A Raisin in the Sun” takes its title from a Langston Hughes poem entitled “Harlem,” which poses the question “What happens to a dream deferred?” Staged in 1959, Louise Hansberry’s play explores how The American Dream has been deferred for any entire segment of the population, embodied by the multi-generational Younger family. The audience follows the family’s internal and external struggles as they attempt to improve their financial circumstances with an insurance pay-out following the death of the family patriarch.
This heartfelt drama deals with issues that are still relevant today, such as housing discrimination, assimilation, generational divides, and racism. “A Raisin in the Sun” won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play with Hansberry the youngest American and first African American playwright to win the award. The Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play was later adapted for the screen starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Louis Gossett Jr. and Claudia McNeill, who also originated their roles on Broadway
This production of “A Raisin in the Sun” marks the second collaboration between The White Theatre and the Black Repertory Theatre, and is being once again underwritten by Theater League.
Damron Armstrong, Founder and Executive Director of BRTKC as well as director of the show, assembled a talented cast of local performers from across the metro for this production of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Armstrong hopes audiences will immerse themselves in the play and take away its important messages.
Now in its 18th season, The White Theatre at The J presents a full slate of entertainment and educational offerings that include a Theatre Series, a Concert Series and line-up of Special Engagements, all produced by The J’s Arts + Culture Department in a state-of-the-art, 500-seat performing arts community theatre. Following “A Raisin in the Sun,” The White Theatre season will present another collaboration through its New Works Initiative, the musical “Vilna: A Resistance Story” partnering with The Culture House, as well as a one-man show with the support of The Truman Library Institute and Kansas City Actors Theatre. The season will close with the July 2023 musical and family favorite “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
“A Raisin in the Sun” cast
(Character, performer, city of residence)
Ruth Younger: Valerie Chamberlain, Grandview, MO
Travis Younger: Dj Starr, Liberty, MO
Walter Lee Younger, “Brother”: Jamel Williams, Kansas City, MO
Beneatha Younger: Brittany Evans, Kansas City, MO
Lena Younger, “Mama”: Lynn King, Kansas City, MO
Joseph Asagai: E. Larry Guidry, Kansas City, MO
George Murchison: Terrace Wyatt Jr., Independence, MO
Karl Lindner: Keith Wiedenkeller, Kansas City, MO
Bobo: Dennis Jackson, Grandview, MO
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