Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window to Receive Seattle Benefit Staging | Playbill

News Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window to Receive Seattle Benefit Staging
Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre will offer a benefit reading of Pulitzer Prize winner Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window on Sept. 19.

The reading will benefit ACT's Hansberry Project, which supports new and classic works developed by African-American artists. Hansberry Project artistic director Valerie Curtis-Newton directs the 7:30 PM reading.

The cast includes Chris Ensweiler, Jane May, Gretchen Krich, Shanga Parker, Shawn Telford, Amanda Zarr and Richard Hesik.

"Set in 1960s Greenwich Village, this funny and provocative play is inhabited by Sidney Brustein, a liberal intellectual, his wife Iris (an aspiring actress), and their kooky circle of friends and family. Using the machinations around a stormy political campaign, Hansberry tackles the fragility of love, morality, drugs, rebellion, conformity, and commitment to the world," according to press notes.

“In thinking about how we might showcase not only Hansberry’s tremendous talent as a playwright, but also her indomitable activist spirit, we chose to produce a staged reading of Sign. The questions it raises about individual responsibility for making change happen seemed especially relevant today,” said director Curtis-Newton in a statement. “I was also fascinated by the fact that play was kept alive by the active support of members of the community. It initially received mixed reviews, but audiences were so moved that people began a campaign to keep it running. A group of high profile artists, including James Baldwin, Anne Bancroft, and Mike Nichols, even went so far as to take out an ad in The New York Times urging that the play continue. It worked and the play’s run was extended more than once. It is great model for the kind of theatre we want to make. Theatre that is so artful and so relevant that our community is willing to step up and support it. A great cast of local actors will bring this work to life and we’re hoping the community will join us for an entertaining evening with a master playwright.”

The Sign In Sidney Brustein's Window followed Hansberry's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning family drama A Raisin in the Sun. Sign premiered on Broadway in 1964 at the Longacre Theatre. The original cast featured Alice Ghostly (Tony winner), Rita Moreno, John Alderman, Ben Aliza, Gabriel Dell, Josip Elic, Cynthia O'Neal, Frank Schofield and Dolph Sweet. A 1972 revival boasted cast members Hal Linden and Frances Sternhagen (Tony nomination) and original cast member Dolph Sweet. Tickets, priced $25, are available by phoning (206) 292-7676 or by visiting ACT. ACT is located at 700 Union Street in Seattle, WA.

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