Lorraine Vivian Hansberry

ARINTSCastCX In 2008, Sean Combs and the rest of the major characters from the 2004 Broadway revival of a Raisin in the Sun, starred in a television film of the production.

 Music mogul Sean Combs stars as Walter Lee Younger, a chauffeur who longs to own his own business and prove his manhood. Phylicia Rashad—who became the first African-American actress to win a Best Actress Tony Award for the stage version—plays Walter Lee's mother, Lena, a woman desperate to retire from her job as a domestic.

Music mogul Sean Combs stars as Walter Lee Younger, a chauffeur who longs to own his own business and prove his manhood. Phylicia Rashad—who became the first African-American actress to win a Best Actress Tony Award for the stage version—plays Walter Lee’s mother, Lena, a woman desperate to retire from her job as a domestic.

The film debuted at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast by ABC on February 25, 2008. 12.7 million viewers tuned into the program. The production garnered two NAACP Image Awards. 

 

2019 

WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL

A RAISIN IN THE SUN

JUNE 25 – JULY 13 | MAIN STAGE
2019 SEASON

By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Robert O’Hara 

Mandi Masden and S. Epatha Merkerson in the Williamstown Theater Festival production of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Photo Credit: Joseph O’Malley

Francois Battiste as Walter Lee Younger and S. Epatha Merkerson as his mother, Lena, in “A Raisin in the Sun” at Williamstown Theatre Festival. (WTF publicity photo by Joseph O’Malley.”)

With  Francois Battiste, Kyle Beltran, Joshua EchebiriEboni Flowers, Joe Goldammer, Mandi Masden, Nikiya Mathis, S. Epatha Merkerson, Warner Miller, Owen Tabaka 

Mandi Masden (left), Owen Tabaka, and S. Epatha Merkerson in Williamstown Theatre Festival’s production of “A Raisin in the Sun.”(JEREMY DANIEL)

Ms. Masden and Francois Battiste portray a married couple who share a cramped apartment with three other people.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Dani

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner S. Epatha Merkerson and Francois Battiste breathe new life into this American classic. Lena Younger (Merkerson) and her son Walter Lee (Battiste) are at odds. Lena wants to use her late husband’s life insurance to move her family out of their cramped apartment on Chicago’s South Side. Walter Lee would rather use the funds to start a business and become an independent man. As their dispute intensifies, the powerful and destructive forces of 1950s America come knocking at the Youngers’ front door. Directed by Obie Award winner Robert O’Hara, Hansberry’s fearless interrogation of hope in the face of racial and economic strife is as provocative and powerful today as when it premiered.

Ms. Merkerson, a two-time Tony nominee and one of the finest American actresses working today, gives us not only Lena’s hard-won centeredness and conviction but also the doubts, born of churning and changing times, now nibbling at her certainty. It’s a nigh-perfect, in-the-moment performance that makes this play credible…

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The moment finally arrives — and you just knew it was coming — when Robert O’Hara burns a hole right through “A Raisin in the Sun.” It occurs well into the second half of Mr. O’Hara’s always absorbing revival of this watershed play, which opened Saturday on the Main Stage of the Williamstown Theater Festival, with a cast that includes a magnificent S. Epatha Merkerson.

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