Leon replaces Marion McClinton, whom Binder named as the play's director in fall 2002. Leon is the former artistic director of the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Since then, he has directed at a variety of theatres and occasionally acted. He was, for a time, attached to the in-development Harlem Globetrotter musical Hoopz.
No casting has been announced.
The revival made the news October 2002, when New York Post reported that Laurence Fishburne, Tony-winner for August Wilson's Two Trains Running, and Angela Bassett, who acted in Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone, wished to star. Speaking to Playbill On-Line at the time, Binder stressed that, as the project was still in earliest stages, no casting decisions had been made.
The play concerns Walter Lee, who chafes at his straightened circumstances and longs for a business deal which would lift him out of his limited world. He has his eye of his late father's insurance, but Walter's mother wants to use her that money to move the family out of the city.
Raisin in the Sun premiered in 1959. It was the first Broadway play written, directed and starring African-Americans. Lloyd Richards directed. In the cast were Poitier, Claudia McNeil as the mother, Diana Sands, Ruby Dee, Louis Gossett, Ivan Dixon, Glynn Turman, John Fielder, Lonne Elder III, Ed Hall and Douglas Turner. It ran 530 performances. A film 1961 version followed, as did a later 1991 TV movie. It was also the basis for the musical, Raisin. A few seasons back, a revival of A Raisin in the Sun starring Ruben Santiago Hudson, Gloria Foster and Viola Davis, played the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Santiago-Hudson subsequently made the rounds of Broadway producers, urging a commercial transfer. According to the actor, who spoke at Foster's memorial (the actress died in 2001), a powerful Broadway producer turned him down, saying, "You know, it's really not a very good play."