A RAISIN IN THE SUN Comes to The University of South Carolina's Dept. of Theatre and Dance This Month

Performances run February 23 through March 1 at Longstreet Theatre.  

By: Feb. 07, 2024
A RAISIN IN THE SUN Comes to The University of South Carolina's Dept. of Theatre and Dance This Month
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The University of South Carolina Dept. of Theatre and Dance will present Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun February 23 through March 1 at Longstreet Theatre.  

Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with additional 3 p.m. matinee performances on Saturday, February 24 and Sunday, February 25.  Admission is $15 for students, $20 for USC faculty/staff, military, and seniors 60+, and $22 for the public. Tickets may be purchased online at sc.universitytickets.com. Longstreet Theatre is located at 1300 Greene St.  Enter from the rear breezeway off Sumter St. 

Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking masterpiece – the first play by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway – has inspired audiences worldwide since its debut in 1959 and remains vital and compelling today. The divergent dreams of three generations of the Younger family, living together in a small apartment on Chicago’s South Side, begin to clash when a large insurance settlement arrives in the mail. Tensions increase as their individual aspirations to make a better life are tested by an outside world of racism and economic discrimination, threatening to rip apart their family forever.

The production is being directed by special guest artist Ron Himes, who in 1976 founded St. Louis’ The Black Rep, an esteemed theatre dedicated to producing and commissioning works by and for Black artists and audiences.  In that time, Himes has produced or directed more than 300 productions at the theatre.  Since 2003, he has also been the Henry E. Hampton, Jr. Artist-in-Residence at Washington University.  A Raisin in the Sun marks Himes’ second time directing at USC, having previously helmed Rita Dove’s The Darker Face of the Earth at the university in 2001. 

“This play continues, like classics do, to stand up to the test of time,” Himes says of the show’s continued relevance 65 years after its debut. “When it premiered on Broadway, I don't think that most of white America, particularly the theatergoing audience, had any idea of what Black family life was like. And the beauty of the play is that we don't see any monolithic Black people – we see a whole range.  We see all these iterations of a black family and the dynamics of progress on that family.”

Since its original Broadway run in 1959, A Raisin in the Sun has seen several notable iterations, including a landmark 1961 film, a 1973 musical version, and a Tony-winning 2014 Broadway revival. Clybourne Park, a 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner by playwright Bruce Norris, imagined what happened to the Younger family after the events in Raisin. 

Himes says the play’s universality is “its greatest appeal. It’s a wonderful family drama, it’s comedic… It’s just a well-made play.  Everybody that comes to see this play will find something they can identify with, something they can take away.”

Cast in the production are guest artist Jocelyn Sanders as younger family matriarch, Lena; first-year MFA acting studentsDe’on Turner (Walter Lee Younger) and Olan Domer; and, undergraduate students Keyontaye Allison, John Ballard, Aaliyah Broadwater, Rowland Marshall, Dorian Mitchell, Mylea Pressley, Ashleigh Robinson, Fiona Schreier, andMichaelmykkel Wright. Design for the production is by MFA Design students Ruihan Liu (scenic) and Isaiah Jensen(lighting), Assistant Professor Kristy Hall (costume), and guest artist Danielle Wilson (sound).   

“I’m so happy and satisfied with the talent here and in this company,” Himes says. “It’s an important play – it’s important that the University of South Carolina is doing this play – and I hope the community will take advantage of that.”




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