The classic story of the Younger family remains universally relevant and deeply relatable more than 60 years after it first hit Broadway. In pursuit of the American Dream, this dynamic African American family wrestles with the push to assimilate into a white Chicago neighborhood, and the pull of their cultural roots. These opposing forces both unite and divide the family, as each grapple with the social issues that challenge their identity – and the personal choices that will determine their future.
Additional Support Provided by…
Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation
Meet the Cast & Company
About the writer
When Lorraine Hansberry’s (1930-1965) A Raisin in the Sun appeared on Broadway in 1959, the artist became at twenty-nine the youngest American playwright, the fifth woman, and the only African American to date to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play of the Year. The play represented a landmark. In its authentic depiction of Black American life, and the vivid demonstration of so gifted a creator, cast, and director, it made it possible for the American stage to ignore African American creativity and subject matter thereafter. In 1961, the film version won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Screen Writer’s Guild Award for Hansberry’s screenplay. In 1965, Lorraine Hansberry died of cancer at age 34. As if prescient, in the six years she had between the triumph of her first play and her death, she was extraordinarily prolific. Her second play to be produced on Broadway, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, was in its early run to mixed reviews, when Hansberry died; the curtain came down on that date. To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, an autobiographical portrait in her own words adapted by her former husband and literary executor Robert Nemiroff, was posthumously produced in 1969 and toured across the country. In 1970, Les Blancs, her play about the inevitability of struggle between colonizers and colonized in Africa, and the impending crisis that would surely grow out of it, ran on Broadway to critical acclaim. During her career as a playwright, Hansberry wrote many articles and essays on literary criticism, racism, sexism, homophobia, world peace and other social and political issues. At her death, she left behind file cabinets holding her public and private correspondence, speeches and journals, and various manuscripts in several genres: plays for stage and screen, essays, poetry, and an almost complete novel. (Courtesy,
Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust)
About the director
CHIP MILLER (Assistant Director) KC Rep: Assistant Artistic Director. Acting: The Fantasticks. Directing: 4:48 Psychosis (The Buffalo Room); David George’s Christmas Ain’t A Drag (The Madrid). Assistant Directing: Evita, Roof of the World, Sunday in the Park with George, Stillwater, Hair, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Romeo & Juliet, The Tallest Tree in the Forest, American Buffalo, Waiting for You (on the Corner of 13th and Walnut), Death of a Salesman (KC Rep); Justice in the Embers (The Living Room); 600 Highwaymen’s Empire City (University Settlement); Reporting Live (NYMF 2012); Venice (Public Theatre); Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Baltimore Centerstage). Education: BFA: New York University.
About the director
MARISSA WOLF (Director of New Works Associate Artist) KC Rep: The Diary of Anne Frank. Regional: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, San Francisco Playhouse, Shotgun Players, Cutting Ball Theatre, The Magic Theatre, and Berkeley Playhouse. Ms. Wolf previously served as the Artistic Director of Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco for six seasons, where she developed and produced work by a vanguard of top emerging playwrights including Christina Anderson (Kansas City born and raised playwright), Lauren Gunderson, Young Jean Lee, Christopher Chen, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Caridad Svich, Thomas Bradshaw, and Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig. In her first year as Director of New Works/Associate Artist at Kansas City Rep, Ms. Wolf has launched OriginKC, a program that supports the creation, development, and production of new work from a diverse body of major national playwrights. Awards: Best Director (nomination, Broadway World San Francisco); the Bay Area Critics Circle Award; the Bret C. Harte Directing Internship at Berkeley Repertory Theatre for two years. Education: BA, Vassar College, additional training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Upcoming: Ms. Wolf will co-direct A Raisin in the Sun with Chip Miller in the 2016-2017 season, as well as the world premiere of Man in Love by Christina Anderson in the 2017 OriginKC: New Works Festival.
"Broadway caliber theatre comes to Kansas City"
"Brianna Woods bursts on the KC scene"
"Ensemble cast sends electricity through the audience"
"The play is a masterpiece of American Theater."KC Applauds
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