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Is it time for a "Raisin" revival?

blacktie
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Is it time for a "Raisin" revival?#1
Posted: 8/26/10 at 12:04pm
The musical adaption of "A Raisin In the Sun," "Raisin" produced multiple Tony nominations and two wins (Best Musical and Best Leading Actress).

Ruth Younger Audra McDonald, LaChanze, Elisabeth Withers-Mendes (Can Viola Davis sing?)
Travis Younger not sure...one of the former Simbas?
Walter Lee Younger Kingsley Leggs
Beneatha Younger Saycon Sengbloh, Anika Noni Rose (too old maybe?), Montego Glover, Dan'yelle Williamson
Mama Lena Younger Loretta Devine, Tonya Pinkins, Jennifer Holliday (maybe?), Lillias White, Phylicia Rashad (not sure if she could handle the score)
Joseph Asagai - Brandon Victor Dixon, Sahr Ngaujah
Karl Linder- small part, but anyone could do it
Updated On: 8/26/10 at 12:04 PM
blacktie
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morosco
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#2
Posted: 8/26/10 at 12:12pm
Norm Lewis would have been an incredible Walter Lee but he's a little too old for that role now. He would sing the score magnificently. (How about him doing it at Encores?)
Phyllis Rogers Stone
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#3
Posted: 8/26/10 at 12:12pm
I don't think John Stamos got an Emmy nomination for this.
blacktie
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#4
Posted: 8/26/10 at 12:20pm
You're right Phyllis...I edited the original post.

According to IBDB, it played from Oct 18, 1973 until Dec 7, 1975.
Updated On: 8/26/10 at 12:20 PM
WOSQ
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#5
Posted: 8/26/10 at 1:34pm
Raisin was never more than a workmanlike musical. There is nothing intrinsincally bad about the show, but there is no real raison d'etre (no pun, please). Raisin has always seemed to be a case of, "Can we tell this story better with the addition of song and dance?" never being asked nor truthfully answered.

As the recent Broadway production of the play showed everyone, the script still works in the right hands even with a less-than-dynamic male lead. A Raisin in the Sun doesn't need to be a musical.

To me this is a case of let sleeping dogs lie. At most, a production at Encores!
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#6
Posted: 8/26/10 at 2:53pm
Despite its respectable run and Tony award, I have never heard anything from the score or heard of a subsequent production anywhere. I just never understood why it even exists.
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#7
Posted: 8/26/10 at 3:23pm
KAD
Sidewalk Tree----great song
give the score a listen it is not bad
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#8
Posted: 8/26/10 at 3:32pm
The score isn't bad. There are a couple gems like "Sweet Time" and "Sidewalk Tree". Virginia Capers' rendition of "A Whole Lotta Sunlight" is probably my favorite song in the entire score.

That said, I don't think there's a need for this show to be revived on Broadway. But it would be perfect for Encores.
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Updated On: 8/26/10 at 03:32 PM
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#9
Posted: 8/26/10 at 4:18pm
The score is not bad, but I see Hallelujah, Baby! being revived before this would be.
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#10
Posted: 8/26/10 at 4:34pm
I agree...This would be perfect for Encores.

The original play is so powerful and beautifully constructed. The authors of the musical didn't add anything of value, just inserted songs that just repeated what was already there. It had a long run but did not recoup.

The Tony win happened mainly because the 1973/74 season was a particularly weak one for new musicals:

RAISIN (847 performances) FLOP
MOLLY (68 p) FLOP
GIGI (103 p) FLOP (Based on the 1958 film)
LORELEI (320 p) FLOP (update of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES)
RAINBOW JONES (1 p) FLOP
SEXTET (9 p) FLOP
OVER HERE! (341 p) FLOP
WORDS AND MUSIC (127 p) FLOP
THE MAGIC SHOW (1859 p) HIT

The revivals - with one exception - fared poorly too:
THE DESERT SONG (15 p) FLOP
THE PAJAMA GAME (65 p) FLOP
CANDIDE (740 p) FLOP (revised version)

Not a good year for musicals on Broadway.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#11
Posted: 8/26/10 at 4:45pm
IMO If people are going to ask why a musical like Raisin exists then they should start asking why a musical of Legally Blonde exists. I'll take Raisin over that show anytime.
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#12
Posted: 8/27/10 at 1:05am
And YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. And THE WEDDING SINGER. And SHREK. And THE LITTLE MERMAID.

There is a long and ever-growing lists of shows that do not need to be put on stage, or gain nothing from the translation. (LION KING at list has an original visual look to it.)

It shows the current crop of writers and producers to be sadly bereft of creativity.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#13
Posted: 8/27/10 at 10:40am
Sidewalk tree is sung by Ralph Carter
played little Michael on Good Times
(useless information but trivia)
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#14
Posted: 8/27/10 at 10:56am
Well, I personally love this score and I love A Raisin in the Sun, period but I don't know how a Broadway revival would fare. I think an Encores! production would be the best move and then see what happens from there.
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blacktie
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#15
Posted: 8/27/10 at 1:34pm
Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?

From the 2006 Chicago production. Ernestine Jackson, who originated Ruth Younger in the original Broadway production, portrayed Lena Younger.

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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#16
Posted: 8/27/10 at 2:32pm
blacktie, thanks for posting! I LOVE her voice on "Raisin" and "Guys and Dolls".

If there is a NY production of this, I would hope that Audra McDonald would reprise her role as Ruth.
blacktie
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#17
Posted: 8/27/10 at 3:15pm
You're welcome. And yes, based on Ernestine Jackson's interpretation of Ruth, Audra McDonald's voice would suit the part perfectly.
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Is it time for a 'Raisin' revival?#18
Posted: 8/27/10 at 3:43pm
Finally found my cd of this. I'm listening to it as I type this. I've forgotten what an infectious, rhythmic score this show has. I'm lovin' it. I can definitely see ENCORES! doing this.

Don't discount this musical it won the Tony for BEST MUSICAL and the GRAMMY for Best Cast Album and got very favorable reviews. Lesser shows have been given a second look, RAISIN deserves to be rediscovered.