Beneatha's Place, Part of Centerstage's The Raisin Cycle, Begins Performances May 8
By Carey Purcell
Centerstage ends its 50th Anniversary Season with artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah’s new play Beneatha’s Place, which begins previews May 8.
Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, Beneatha's Place is produced in rotating repertory with Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park as The Raisin Cycle.
Directed by Derrick Sanders, The Raisin Cycle is performed by a single company of actors and a shared design team.
Clybourne Park opened April 10, and Beneatha's Place officially opens May 15. On May 18 the two plays will begin playing in rotating repertory, running through June 16.
The cast of Clybourne Park and Beneatha's Place respectively includes Kim James Bey as Aunty Fola, Jonathan Crombie as Russ/Dan and Peter Nelson/Gary Jacobs, Jessica Frances Dukes as Francine/Lena and Beneatha Asagai Younger, Charlie Hudson, III as Albert/Kevin and Joseph Asagai/Wale Oguns, Beth Hylton as Bev/Kathy and Shirley Jones/Harriet Banks, Jacob H Knoll as Jim/Tom/Kenneth and Jack L. Brownlee, James Ludwig as Karl/Steve and Daniel Barnes/Mark Bond, and Jenna Sokolowski as Jenna Sokolowski as Betsy/Lindsey and Mrs. Nelson/Female Student.
According to press notes, "Beneatha's Place continues the conversation that began in Clybourne Park. The play explores identity, leadership, and legacy through the story of one powerful African American woman, following Beneatha Younger far beyond that iconic Chicago living room, from 1959 to today, and from her home in Nigeria to her career at a California university."
"As a playwright of color, even in Britain, the legacy of Lorraine Hansberry and A Raisin in the Sun looms large for me. I may have seen the play more often than any other," Kwei-Armah said in a previous statement. "In writing my own encounter with her seminal saga, I felt drawn to explore the nature of identity, community, and what it means to become a leader."
Centerstage's productions of Beneatha's Place and Clybourne Park will be featured in a nationally broadcast PBS documentary exploring the legacy of A Raisin in the Sun.
The creative team for The Raisin Cycle includes scenic designer Jack Magaw, costume designer Reggie Ray, lighting designer Thom Weaver, sound designer Elisheba Ittoop and hair and wig designer Greg Bazemore. Gavin Witt is the production dramaturg, and Evamarii Johnson is the dialect consultant. Tara Rubin is the casting director. Laura Smith is the stage manager, and Captain Kate Murphy is the assistant stage manager.
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