Lorraine Hansberry was born May 19, 1930. The writer, most known for seminal drama A Raisin in the Sun, would go on to become the first African-American writer to win the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award.
In A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry tells the story of the experiences of a black family in Chicago. The Broadway production opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre March 11, 1959, starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Ivan Dixon, Lonne Elder III, John Feilder, Ed Hall, and Glynn Turman. The play was the first by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway and as well as the first with an African-American director. The production was transferred to the Belasco Theatre in October 1959 before eventually closing on June 25, 1960.
Flip through photos of the production below:
Look Back on A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway
Poitier and McNeil were both nominated for Tony Awards for the performances; the play also received Tony nominations for Best Play and for Lloyd Richards' direction.
In addition to a 1961 film adaptation, the play has since been revived on Broadway twice—once in 2004, in a production starring Sean Combs and Audra McDonald, and again in the Tony-winning 2014 revival, which starred Denzel Washington and Sophie Okonedo.