Casting Complete for Raisin in the Sun

By Robert Simonson
17 Feb 2004

Sanaa Lathan
Sanaa Lathan
Photo by Theo van de Sande/MGM

David Aaron Baker, Teagle F. Bougere, Frank Harts, Alexander Mitchell and Bill Nunn have been added to the cast of the Broadway production of the classic Lorraine Hansberry drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which will play the Royale Theatre starting March 30.

They join previously announced stars Sean Combs, Audra McDonald, Phylicia Rashad and Sanaa Lathan. As reported, it will open on April 26.

Baker will play Lindner, Bougere is Asagai, Harts portrays George, Alexander Mitchell plays Travis and Bill Nunn takes on the role of Bobo.

The show will feature set design by Thomas Lynch, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by T. Richard Fitzgerald. Additionally, Dwight Andrews will be composing original music for the production.



Recording artist, fashion mogul and actor Sean "P. Diddy" Combs will make his Broadway debut as Walter, the role originated on Broadway by Sidney Poitier, who later reprised his work on film. Combs has appeared in the films "Made," "Monster's Ball" and "Death of a Dynasty."

Three-time Tony-winner McDonald (Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime) will play Ruth Younger. McDonald played the supporting role of Hotspur's wife in last fall's acclaimed Lincoln Center production of Henry IV. That was her non-singing Broadway debut. (Though Master Class was a play, the central aspect of McDonald's performance was the delivery of an operatic aria.) Her other theatre credits include Marie Christine.

Like McDonald, Rashad, who plays Lena "Mama" Younger, is having a busy season. She recently acted Off-Broadway's in the Public Theater's praised newspaper drama by Tracey Scott Wilson's, The Story. That show closed Dec. 21, 2003. The former "The Cosby Show" matriarch has been a more and more common sight on New York stages. In summer 2001, she starred in Charles Randolph Wright's Blue, a sleeper hit for the Roundabout Theatre Company. Two years earlier, she played Harlem Renaissance luminary Zora Neale Hurston in Thulani Davis' Everybody's Ruby, at the Public Theater.

*

A Raisin in the Sun 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 by, directed by 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.