Diahann Carroll, Sophie Okonedo, Anika Noni Rose Join Denzel Washington in Broadway Revival of A Raisin in the Sun
By Michael Gioia
Denzel Washington, who won the 2010 Tony Award for his performance in Fences, will star as Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, opposite film, television and Tony Award-winning stage star Diahann Carroll as Lena Younger, in her first Broadway appearance in over 30 years, producers for the production confirmed Aug. 1.
The production will be directed by Tony Award nominee Kenny Leon and begin March 8, 2014, prior to an official opening night April 3, 2014, at the Barrymore Theatre, where the original production of A Raisin in the Sun opened 55 years ago.
The revival will be a 14-week limited engagement through June 15, 2014.
The production will also star Academy Award nominee Sophie Okonedo ("Hotel Rwanda," Broadway debut) as Ruth Younger, Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose (Caroline, or Change) as Beneatha Younger, Stephen Tyrone Williams (Lucky Guy) as Joseph Asagai, Jason Dirden (Fences) as George Murchison and Tony Award nominee Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences) as Bobo.
Okonedo is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
Originally produced in 1959, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway, where it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.
Here's how producer Scott Rudin bills the work: "Set on Chicago's South Side, A Raisin in the Sun revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee (Washington), his wife Ruth (Okonedo), his sister Beneatha (Rose), his son Travis and matriarch Lena, called Mama (Carroll). When her deceased husband's money comes through, Mama dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school. The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama."
The classic Lorraine Hansberry drama was last seen on Broadway in 2004 starring Sean Combs.
Washington has also been seen on Broadway in Julius Caesar and Checkmates.
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