More Stage Stars to Join Combs and Company in ABC-TV's "A Raisin in the Sun"

News   More Stage Stars to Join Combs and Company in ABC-TV's "A Raisin in the Sun" Bill Nunn, from the recent Broadway cast of Raisin in the Sun, as well as stage veterans Ron Cephas Jones and Sean Patrick Thomas have joined the cast of the upcoming ABC television version of that Lorraine Hansberry play.

Kenny Leon, who staged the Broadway revival, will direct the TV film starring Sean Combs, Sanaa Lathan and Tony Award winners Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad.

John Stamos (Nine, "ER") was also recently announced to join the cast of the ABC television movie adaptation of Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun.

Ron Cephas Jones (Gem of the Ocean, Our Lady of 121st Street) will appear in the ABC cast in the role of Willy. Sean Patrick Thomas ("Save the Last Dance," Much Ado About Nothing) will play George with Bill Nunn ("Do the Right Thing," "Spider-Man") reprising his role as Bobo. The ensemble will also feature Justin Martin (The Lion King) as Travis and David Oyelowo ("The Last King of Scotland") as Asagai.

The small-screen version will use a script penned by Paris Qualles, based on the original Hansberry play. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (the TV versions of "Cinderella," "Annie" and the film "Chicago") produce the work for Sony Pictures. Filming is reportedly scheduled to begin in December for a 2007 broadcast.

A Raisin in the Sun centers on the Younger family who are dealing with the loss of their patriarch and the fortune of his insurance money in the close quarters of their home in Chicago's Southside in the 1950s. A Raisin in the Sun premiered in 1959. It was the first Broadway play written by, directed by and starring African-Americans. Lloyd Richards directed a cast including Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Ruby Dee and Louis Gossett — who also appeared in the 1961 film version. The play was also adapted for a 1989 TV movie starring Danny Glover and Esther Rolle and also served as source material for the musical, Raisin.

The 2004 revival was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Play. Both Rashad and McDonald took home honors for their work.