Casting is now complete for the Two River Theater production of Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark drama, A Raisin in the Sun.
Directed by Carl Cofield, the production, which launches the New Jersey company's 2017-2018 season, will begin performances September 9 in the Rechnitz Theater and continue through October 8. Opening night is scheduled for September 15 at 7 PM.
The cast comprises Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger), Nat DeWolf (Karl Lindner), Clybourne Park's Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Jitney's Brandon J. Dirden (Walter Lee Younger), Willie Dirden (Bobo), Charlie Hudson III (Joseph Asagai), The American Plan's Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger), Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger), and York Walker (George Murchison). Andrew Binger and David Joel Rivera play the Moving Men.
The creative team includes scenic designers Christopher and Justin Swader, costume designer Elivia Bovenzi, lighting designer Kathy A. Perkins, sound designer Karin Graybash, and wigs designer Valerie Gladstone. The casting is by Jack Doulin + Sharky, and the stage manager is Lloyd Davis, Jr.
In A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry—drawing on her own family’s experiences—dramatizes the story of the Younger family, headed by matriarch Lena Younger, her son Walter Lee, and his wife, Ruth, who live in poverty in Chicago. “As the play begins, we see that Walter Lee, a chauffeur, dreams of what he might do with a long-promised life-insurance check, a legacy left to them to them by Lena’s late husband,” according to press notes. “We meet the Younger family on the day that their lives could change forever.”
“A Raisin in the Sun is not only one of America’s greatest plays,” says Artistic Director John Dias in a statement, “it is in fact one of the greatest works of art ever created. Lorraine Hansberry uses the metaphor of the family to illuminate something profound about who we are as Americans. We have built this production around the talents of an extraordinary family of Two River actors: Brenda Pressley as Lena Younger; Brandon J. Dirden as Walter Lee younger; and Brandon’s wife, Crystal A. Dickinson, as Ruth Younger. Joining them will be Brandon’s father, Willie Dirden, as Bobo, making this the first time that father and son have acted together. Carl Cofield’s production will resonate today as a story of how courage, hope and love trump our ongoing history of inequity and injustice.”
Tickets are available from tworivertheater.org or by calling (732) 345-1400.
Check out footage from the 2014 Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington, below: