TheatreWorks of Palo Alto, CA, opens its 25th anniversary staging of the musical Raisin Aug. 1. The Tony-winning show is directed by Anthony J. Haney, who staged the play on which Raisin is based -- A Raisin in the Sun -- at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, a venue named after the drama's late author.
The piece tells of an African-American family on Chicago's south side who are determined to buy their dream house in the suburbs despite the racists and swindlers who get in their way. Robert Nemiroff, Hansberry's husband, penned the book with Charlotte Zaltzberg. Robert Brittan wrote the lyrics, while Judd Woldin, the last living member of Raisin's creative team, wrote the music. Woldin is expected to attend the TheatreWorks opening night. The show began previews July 29 and runs to Aug. 23.
Cast-members of this Raisin include Clinton-Derricks-Carroll [sic], Barbara Roberts, Harry Waters Jr., and Lydia Hannibal, alongside Dell Grooms, Annette Noble, James Uwezzo, Tony Campbell, C. Kelly Wright, Jeanine Robinson, Jerome Mason, Alan Carter, C.J. Blankenship, Brian Yates and Hollis Hayden. Danny Duncan choreographs; Dianthe "Dee" Spencer serves as musical director.
Also on tap for the TheatreWorks season:
An American Daughter - (Sept. 2-20, opens Sept. 5) - From the author of The Heidi Chronicles and Uncommon Women and Others comes this look at a woman on the cusp of becoming U.S. Surgeon General, only to have a snooping reporter yank the job out from under her. Side Show -- (Oct. 21-Nov. 8, opens Oct. 24) -- Come look at the freaks! That's the opening song of this new musical that had a brief Broadway run in 1997-98 but developed a legendary legion of fans who want to keep the show alive. With book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Henry Krieger, Side Show is based on the true story of Daisy & Violet Hilton, Siamese twins who, briefly, hit the big time. Artistic director Robert Kelley directs and Bick reographs this mounting (Robert Longbottom staged the Broadway production).
Present Laughter - (Dec. 2-Jan. 3, 1999; opens Dec. 5) - Seen on Broadway two seasons ago with Frank Langella, this 1939 Noel Coward comedy follows the narcissism and sexual proclivities of an aging but still grand actor. Tom Lindblade directs. Amadeus - (Jan. 20-Feb. 7, 1999, opens Jan. 23) - 1981's Tony winning best play, by the author of Lettice and Lovage and The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Peter Shaffer. The story pits jealous Salieri against wanton genius, Mozart, played by Francis Jue.
Psychopathia Sexualis - (March 10-April 11, 1999; opens March 13) - A zany comedy from John Patrick Shanley that pits a neurotic groom against the psychiatrist who withholds his beloved argyle socks. Amy Gonzalez directs this piece from the author of Missing/Kissing and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.
The Joy Luck Club -- (April 14-May 2, 1999, opens April 17) -- Susan Kim adapts Amy Tan's novel about several generations of Chinese women -- and the mother/daughter conflicts that ensue.
Now in its 29th year, TheatreWorks is busy renovating its Lucie Stern Theatre and will hold its summer productions at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets and memberships to TheatreWorks shows call (650) 463-1960.
-- By David Lefkowitz