A Noise Within (ANW) is currently presenting A RAISIN IN THE SUN by Lorraine Hansberry, directed by Gregg T. Daniel, in repertory with HENRY V, through April 8, 2018.
This is the story of the Youngers, an African-American family living in a cramped Chicago apartment in pre-civil rights America, as they struggle with competing dreams and racial intolerance. While the play was first performed in 1959, it discusses economic, gender, and racial equality issues that are, six decades later, still a problem. A RAISIN IN THE SUN was the first play written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway.
At ANW, A RAISIN IN THE SUN is outstanding. With a cast in which all but one minor character is African-American, this is an emotional play, delivered wonderfully by every actor involved. Really, all of them are excellent, so I will point out the two that I enjoyed the most, while asking you to tolerate my capriciousness.
Sandra McClain, on debut with ANW, is Lena Younger, or “Mama,” as she is often referred to in the play. You “buy” everything this actress serves you. When she cried in frustration on account of her son’s shortcomings, my heart cried with her. She definitely embodies the woman “of a certain grace and beauty,” and “full of strength,” that the playwright envisioned.
Next to her is Sarah Hollis, playing Beneatha Younger, the family’s daughter, a female with a new attitude, an untamed desire for freedom, and a tinge of irreverence, all contagious, entertaining, and adorable. Hollis recently played Jess in the Pasadena Playhouse’s fantastic production of KING CHARLES III, and she now makes her debut with ANW in great form.
These two ladies are in good company with Ben Cain as Walter Lee Younger, Toya Turner as Ruth Younger, Amir Abdullah as Joseph Asagai, Rosney Mauger as Bobo/Moving Man, Bert Emmett as Karl Linder, Keith Walker as George Murchison, and Sam Christian as Travis Younger.
A RAISIN IN THE SUN at ANW should be seen. It is an experience worth making it to the theater. If you only make it to the theater once in a blue moon, here’s your moon.
Tickets for A RAISIN IN THE SUN start at $25, available online at anoisewithin.org and by phone by calling 626-356-3121. A Noise Within is located on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue, at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107, just north of the Madre Street exit off the 210.
Photo: Cast and crew of A Raisin in the Sun – Ben Cain, Joyce Guy, Sam Christian, Samantha Kofford, Gregg T. Daniel, Keith Walker, William Christian, Toya Turner, Saundra McClain, Amir Abdullah, Sarah Hollis, Veralyn Jones, and Bert Emmett. Credit: Brian Feinzimer
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