“A Raisin in the Sun” and “Clybourne Park”: What a start to the year!

January 27, 2012

I was more excited than most when I learned CTG had programmed these two plays to run simultaneously, because I knew what y’all were in for. Wren Brown, producer of the Ebony Repertory Company, made a personal appeal for me to see his revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic last spring, and am I glad I did, because it was one of my most memorable experiences of 2011 (and inspired one of the Variety reviews I was most proud of). Almost exactly a year earlier, I happened to be in Manhattan and noticed a play in preview by one of my favorite American playwrights, Bruce Norris. I wish I could tell you I immediately thought “Pulitzer” that night, but I did realize I was in the presence of a significant and important work.

Now they’re both here with only one cast change, one luminous actress (Kim Staunton) taking over for another (L. Scott Caldwell), and they get this theater season off with power and emotional precision. The late, great Manning Marable (“Malcolm X”) began one of his works with this trenchant prologue: “What We Talk About When We Talk About Race.” These two plays, separately and together, contribute to that conversation.

You can read my review of the original “Raisin” revival here, and my notice of the Norris here.

Anyone see both “Raisin”s, and have any thoughts on the substitution of Staunton for Caldwell?


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