Seattle Rep to Reinvigorate A RAISIN IN THE SUN with Help from Playwright's Original Drafts

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents Lorraine Hansberry's acclaimed classic A Raisin in the Sun. Helmed by Seattle actor and director, Timothy McCuen Piggee, A Raisin in the Sun will run September 30-October 30, 2016 (opening night is October 5, 2016) in the Bagley Wright Theatre. Tickets are on sale now through the Seattle Rep Box Office at (206) 443-2222 and online at seattlerep.org.

Launching a new season, Seattle Repertory Theatre dives back in time to reinvigorate a vital piece of theatre - a story of family, race, and power that continues to resonate with generation after generation of American audiences. Legendary playwright Lorraine Hansberry began writing A Raisin in the Sun in the 1950s, on the precipice of the Civil Rights Movement. She retained rigorous notes, drafts, and other materials, which preserved her thoughts and experiences as the play came together for its 1959 Broadway debut. Today, in partnership with The Lorraine Hansberry Literary Estate and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Seattle Rep peels back the layers of this invaluable material to breathe new life into the play that "changed American theatre forever" (The New York Times).

"The Lorraine Hansberry Estate has been incredibly generous in its support of our production," Artistic Director Braden Abraham commented. "Seattle Rep has the rare opportunity to work this closely with Hansberry's notes and original drafts of A Raisin in the Sun. And I'm thrilled that our revival of the play is led by Timothy Piggee - a director so finely attuned to its every detail."

Timothy McCuen Piggee is a local director, actor, and professor at the Cornish College of the Arts and this production of A Raisin in the Sun is his first directorial turn at Seattle Rep. Piggee has been teaching this work in his Text Analysis course at Cornish College of the Arts for the past two decades, as a direct result of his passion for the piece and his belief in what it offers. "For the past 19 years, every freshman in the theatre department at Cornish has spent three to four months with this play under my tutelage," Piggee commented. "It's a happy accident that I have rigorously studied and taught this particular script and now find that I will have the opportunity to deconstruct and compare the three original drafts by the brilliant Lorraine Hansberry with Kristin Leahey, Seattle Rep's Literary Director, and the entire artistic team. My aim with this production is to focus a good deal on the language of this play, truly mine and elevate the text, understand the force of the words, and raise awareness regarding empathy."

A Raisin in the Sun debuted on Broadway in 1959, becoming the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on the Great White Way. It won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award as Best Play of the Year, was nominated for four Tony Awards, including "Best Play." On March 13, 1959 - just two days after it opened - The New York Times reported that the play "basks in praise," one of many glowing reviews.

IF YOU GO:

A Raisin In The Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

directed by Timothy McCuen Piggee

September 30-October 30, 2016

Performance times: Wednesday-Sunday and select Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Select Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday matinees at 2:00 p.m. (no matinees during previews)

Opening Night: Wednesday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m.

At Seattle Repertory Theatre's Bagley Wright Theatre, located at Seattle Center at the corner of Second Ave. and Mercer St., Seattle, Washington

Tickets start at $17 - ON SALE NOW

Discounted tickets for groups of 10+ may be purchased by calling (206) 443-2224.

For ticket reservations, call the Seattle Repertory Theatre Box Office at (206) 443-2222 or toll-free at (877) 900-9285, or go online at seattlerep.org

Timothy has appeared on most Seattle stages, in leading roles with ACT Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Village Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, The 5th Avenue Theatre, Showtunes, Seattle Group Theatre, The Empty Space Theatre, and Tacoma Actor's Guild, among others. Nationally, his work has been seen on Broadway and at the Denver Center Theatre Company, Arizona Theatre Company, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Portland Center Stage, and Pioneer Theatre Company, among others. His film and television credits include Navy Diver, Outpatient, After, Crocodile Tears, Take One, The David Letterman Show, and the 65th Annual Tony Awards. Timothy has directed numerous productions at Cornish College of the Arts, as well as productions and readings at Theater Schmeater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, and Village Theatre. As an educator, he has taught courses at Freehold Theatre Lab/Studio, Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, and Cornish College of the Arts, where he is currently a professor in the Theatre Department. His awards and honors include the 2015 Gregory A. Falls award for Sustained Achievement, the 2015 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship, 2012 University of Utah Distinguished Alumnus Award, Gregory and Gypsy Rose Lee Awards for his performance in Angels in America, Cornish College of the Arts Teaching Excellence Award, 4 Seattle Times Footlight Awards, Seattle Weekly Critics Award ('97), Seattle Post-Intelligencer Performance of the Year Award, Utah Holiday Award, 2003 ARTSFUND Special Recognition, and nominations for AriZoni and Golden Laurel Awards.

Seattle Rep was founded in 1963 and is currently led by Artistic Director Braden Abraham and Managing Director Jeffrey Herrmann. One of America's premier non-profit resident theatres, Seattle Repertory Theatre has achieved international renown for its consistently high production and artistic standards, and was awarded the 1990 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. With an emphasis on entertaining plays of true dramatic and literary worth, Seattle Rep produces a season of plays along with educational programs, new play workshops, and special presentations.

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