Review: Sadly relevant - ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ remains a classic and APT’s production is haunting

Posted September 1, 2022


By Gwendolyn Rice, Isthmus

Lorraine Hansberry’s classic A Raisin in the Sun may be the most perfectly titled play in the American canon. Referencing Langston Hughes’s “Harlem,” the poem is a roadmap for the play’s plot, which focuses on the Youngers, a Black family on Chicago’s south side in the 1950s, struggling to get ahead while facing overt, suffocating racism at every turn. We meet them just as each character in the extended family is asking themselves what to do with their “dream deferred” — let it die, let it fester, or simply explode?

American Players Theatre’s extraordinary production of this haunting, heartbreaking play is running in the outdoor Hill Theatre through Oct. 7. Directed with insight and complexity by Tasia A. Jones, she paints every one of the Younger family members as the hero of their own story, each with well-earned contrasting goals, convictions, dreams for the future, and points of pain. Brought to life by a stellar cast composed of both APT regulars and newcomers, the actors embody the push and pull of a real family — including the innate hierarchies, the resentments, the love and tolerance, and the disconnects between generations that are hard, if not impossible, to bridge.

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