ABC's Raisin in the Sun — with Combs, Rashad, McDonald — to Ripen for TV Debut Next Spring

News   ABC's Raisin in the Sun — with Combs, Rashad, McDonald — to Ripen for TV Debut Next Spring
The ABC television version of Lorraine Hansberry's Raisin in the Sun, featuring the recent Broadway cast members and more, has been bumped forward on the network's schedule to next spring.

As was revealed at the Television Critics Association Tour, the TV film starring Sean Combs, Sanaa Lathan and Tony Award winners Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad will not debut in the 2007 season as originally planned.

Kenny Leon, who staged the Broadway revival, will direct the aforementioned stars opposite original cast member Bill Nunn as well as stage veterans Ron Cephas Jones, Sean Patrick Thomas and John Stamos in the TV-movie adaptation.

Stamos (Nine, "ER") will take on the role of Karl Lindner, Jones (Gem of the Ocean, Our Lady of 121st Street) will appear as Willy, Thomas ("Save the Last Dance," Much Ado About Nothing) will play George and Nunn ("Do the Right Thing," "Spider-Man") will reprise 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.

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 that included 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.

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