A Raisin in the Sun

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 23 2011

More than 50 years old, Lorraine Hansberry’s play about working-class African-Americans in Chicago is historical theater with historic impact. In its day, it was unheard of to see a mainstream, nonmusical Broadway production that featured all black principals, not to mention the fact that Hansberry was black, a female and not yet 30 years old. The story is about the American Dream and where blacks of the post-World War II era found themselves in relation to it, which is to say upward mobility presents its possibilities, disappointingly tempered by the same old stupid racism. We have certainly moved forward as a society, but Raisin remains a cautionary tale and an important relic of the world that existed pre-Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also has a strong sense of family, plus some wonderful roles for actors. The original Broadway mounting featured a veritable Who’s Who of African-American talent: Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Ivan Dixon, Glynn Turman, Lonne Elder III, Louis Gossett Jr. and Douglas Turner Ward. Clay Hillwig directs the new Circle Players production, which is the first locally in many years. Dara Talibah co-stars with Michael McLendon. In keeping with the theme of the show, Circle Players are partnering with the Tennessee Fair Housing Council, a non-profit organization whose mission is to eradicate housing discrimination in Tennessee.

Martin Brady

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