A Raisin in the Sun, the classic Lorraine Hansberry drama which is a perennial candidate for Broadway revival, may soon reach New York's biggest stage, courtesy of the interest of a couple high-profile film stars.
The 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, wish to star, with David Binder producing. To great acclaim, Fishburne and Bassett starred as Ike and Tina Turner in the 1993 film, "What's Love Got to Do With It." Marion McClinton, Wilson's current director of choice (King Hedley II, Jitney) will helm the work.
Fishburne would play Walter Lee (the Sidney Poitier role), who chafes at his straightened circumstances and longs for a business deal which would lift him out of his limited world. Bassett would play Beneatha, Walter's sister. No actress has been mentioned for the role of the mother character, Lena, who wants to use her late husband's life insurance to move the family out of the city.
A few season 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 last year), a powerful Broadway producer turned him down, saying, "You know, it's really not a very good play."
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.