KCUR Arts
2:20 pm
Mon January 23, 2006

Kansas City Rep Produces A Raisin in the Sun

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun premiered in 1959, and it was the first drama by an African American woman produced on Broadway. Hansberry grew up in Chicago. KCUR's Laura Spencer talks with director Lou Bellamy about the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's production of A Raisin in the Sun.

Kansas City, MO – Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun premiered in 1959, and it was the first drama by an African American woman produced on Broadway. Hansberry grew up in Chicago. Her father was a real estate broker, and elements of the play are drawn from her family's own experiences as African-Americans moving into an all-white neighborhood.

In the play, the matriarch of the family, Lena Younger dreams of using her late husband's insurance money for a down payment on a new house; her son, Walter Lee, dreams of investing in a liquor store, and her daughter, Beneatha, dreams of attending medical school. The title of the play, A Raisin in the Sun, comes from Langston Hughes' poem Harlem: A Dream Deferred.

Lou Bellamy is the founder and director of the Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul and he's directing the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's production of A Raisin in the Sun. Bellamy was in Kansas City this time last year directing playwright August Wilson's Two Trains Running, at the Rep, and worked closely with Wilson for several decades, before the playwright's death last year at the age of 60. Laura Spencer asked Bellamy why the play, A Raisin in the Sun, continues to resonate with today's audiences.