POWERFUL AMERICAN DRAMA, A RAISIN IN THE SUN, BRINGS STRUGGLE FOR DIGNITY AND A BETTER LIFE TO THE REP’S QUADRACCI POWERHOUSE

raisin-header-330-v1One of the most powerful and beloved American plays ever written, A Raisin In the Sun tells the story of the Younger family’s struggle for dignity and a better life – and the backlash that erupts when they try to move beyond their oppressive Chicago tenement home. Set just before the dawn of the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements, A Raisin In the Sun demonstrates how a single family’s dreams can change the world. Don’t miss the play that The New York Times said “changed American theatre forever.” A Raisin In the Sun was written byLorraine Hansberry, and will be directed by ­­­­Ron OJ Parson. The cast features Associate Artist James Pickering, and Rep newcomers Christophé Abiel, Gavin Lawrence, Mildred Marie Langford, Ericka Ratcliff and Braylen Stevens. Greta Oglesby, who wowed Rep audiences in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom two seasons agoreturns to The Rep in this production. Chiké Johnson also returns to The Rep after playing the Duke of Cornwall in King Lear. The cast also features current Artistic Intern Ensemble Members Trequon Tate, Lamar Jefferson and Tyrone Phillips. A Raisin In the Sun runs in The Rep’s Quadracci Powerhouse from March 12 – April 14 and opens on Friday, March 15, 2013.

“A Raisin In the Sun is one of the greatest and most important American plays ever written – and even though that writing was over 50 years ago, it still contains great resonance today,” says Artistic Director Mark Clements. “It’s one of those theatrical giants that everyone needs to see at some point, and takes you on a wonderful journey that will leave you feeling a multitude of emotions as you root for the Younger family to achieve their dream of a better life.”

Director Ron OJ Parson added, “A Raisin In the Sun is such a special play for me. I am truly honored to once again tackle this groundbreaking script. . . . I go back with this play to my youth in the theater, in my hometown of Buffalo, New York and I have to say that it has an effect on me every time I revisit this great play. . . . I love that “theater” cannot only entertain, but educate as well. Plays like A Raisin In the Sun move us, inspire us and compel us to strive to reach our dreams in whatever field we choose.”

When Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun, debuted in 1959, it was the first play written by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway. It premiered on March 11, 1959 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, and was directed by Lloyd Richards. It was named the best play of 1959 by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and was nominated for four Tony Awards. A Raisin In the Sun has since been made into several films, a musical and enjoyed a Broadway revival in 2008.

THE CAST

Christophé Abiel (Joseph Asagai), making his Rep debut, has worked at theaters across the country including four Tony Award-winning theaters: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company and The Public Theater;  additionally he has also worked with LAByrinth Theatre Company (under the direction of playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis); Lamar Jefferson (Moving Man) is a 2012/13 Artistic Intern Ensemble Member at The Rep and graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX; Chiké Johnson (Walter Lee Younger) returns to The Rep after appearing in Manhattan Theatre Club’s Wit on Broadway; recent credits includeLost in the Stars in New York City center Encores!, Sizwe Banzi is Dead at Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club’s co-production of RuinedMildred Marie Langford (Beneatha Younger) in her Rep debut, whose recent credits include Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago Dramatists, TimeLine Theatre Company, University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, among others; Gavin Lawrence (George Murchison), also making his Rep debut, has credits which  include Arena Stage, Guthrie Theater, CenterStage, Denver Center Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Goodman Theatre; he is a recipient of a Lorraine Hansberry Award for his play, Cut FlowersGreta Oglesby (Lena Younger), returns to The Rep where she was last seen as Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; recent credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Guthrie Theater and Penumbra Theatre Company, as well as many film and television credits; Tyrone Phillips (Moving Man), a member of The Rep’s Artistic Intern Ensemble, recently appeared in the ensembles of A Christmas Carol and AssassinsJames Pickering (Karl Lindner), a Rep Associate Artist,  now in his 39th season with The Rep, recently appeared in The Diary of Anne Frank, Othello and To Kill A MockingbirdEricka Ratcliff (Ruth Younger), also making her Rep debut, has performed with Congo Square Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company and Victory Gardens Theater, among others; Braylen Stevens (Travis Younger), in his Rep debut, was most recently seen in First Stage’s production ofRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; he has also performed with CAPITA Productions; and Trequon Tate (Bobo), a 2012/13 Artistic Intern Ensemble Member, appeared in the Ensemble in The Rep’s production of Assassins and understudied roles in Gutenberg! The Musical!Blues in the Night and A Christmas Carol.  

CREATIVE TEAM

The Creative Team for A Raisin In the Sun includes: Ron OJ Parson (Director – See below for bio); Jack Magaw(Scenic Designer), who designed The Rep’s production of Frozen, and whose regional design credits include Alliance Theatre, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, among others; he also teaches design at The Theatre School at DePaul University; Janice Pytel (Costume Designer) has designed the Broadway productions of 33 Variations and I Am My Own Wife; regional credits include Alley Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and Alliance Theatre; Heather Gilbert(Lighting Designer) is a Chicago-based lighting designer whose credits include Court Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Williamstown Theatre Festival; Joshua Horvath (Sound Designer) previously designed The Rep’s production of The Story; Off-Broadway credits include Clay at the Lincoln Center; regional credits include Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Chicago Shakespeare; Sandy Ernst(Casting Director), is The Rep’s Associate Artistic Director, the Artistic Intern Company Director, and has served as The Rep’s Casting Director for over a decade; she formerly served as a member of the directing staff and as the Production Stage Manager at American Players Theatre; Jill Walmsley Zager (Dialect Coach), recently returned to Milwaukee from three years as Co-Head of Voice and Dialects and the Company Coach at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco; recent Rep credits include: Clybourne ParkThe Diary of Anne Frank, The MountaintopAssassins, To Kill a MockingbirdA Christmas CarolLombardiYellowmanTen ChimneysCabaret,My Name is Asher LevLaurel and Hardy and The 39 StepsSarah Hoffmann (Stage Manager), stage-managed A Christmas Carol this season at The Rep; Wisconsin theater credits include stage managing for American Players Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks and First Stage Children’s Theater, where she served as the production stage manager for three years; Briana J. Fahey (Assistant Stage Manager), is celebrating her tenth season with The Rep, and most recently stage-managed A Christmas Carol and Assassins; regional credits include California Shakespeare Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Magic Theatre and Center REPertory Theatre; Laura F. Wendt(Assistant Stage Manager) was Stage Manager for The Rep’s recent production of Clybourne Park; other credits include Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival, American Players Theatre and Nebraska Shakespearean Festival;Jason Simpson (Stage Management Apprentice), a State University of New York graduate, was a 2011/12 Stage Management Intern and returned this season as an apprentice; credits this year include Mind Over MilwaukeeA Christmas CarolThe Mountaintop and Gutenberg! The Musical!; Maggie Ellsworth (Assistant Director) is a 2012/13 Directing Intern at The Rep, whose Rep credits include Clybourne Park, A Christmas Carol, Blues In the Night, The Mountaintop and Gutenburg! The Musical!.

KEY BIOGRAPHIES

Lorraine Hansberry (Playwright) was born on May 19, 1930, in Chicago, IL. She wrote A Raisin In the Sun, a play about a struggling black family, which opened on Broadway to great success. Hansberry was the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle Award. Throughout her life she was heavily involved in civil rights. She died at 34 of pancreatic cancer.

Ron OJ Parson (Director) is a native of Buffalo, NY, and a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Professional Theatre Program. He is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of Onyx Theatre of Chicago. Ron currently resides in Chicago and is a Resident Theatre Artist at Chicago’s Court Theatre at the University of Chicago. Other Chicago theaters Ron has worked with include: the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre Company, Chicago Theatre Company, Black Ensemble Theatre, Congo Square, ETA, MPAACT, Urban Theatre Company, Writers’ Theatre, Eclipse Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and various arts in education programs. Regionally, Ron has worked throughout the United States and Canada. Most recently Ron directed the highly-acclaimed production of August Wilson’s Jitney at South Coast Repertory and Pasadena Playhouse. Other regional theaters include Actors Theatre of Louisville, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Geva Theatre, Buffalo’s Studio Arena Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Wilshire Theatre, Mechanic Theatre, Center Stage, Studio Theatre, Portland Stage Company in Maine, Signature Theatre in New York, St. Louis Black Rep, Madison Repertory Theatre and Virginia Stage Company, to name a few. Ron recently directed the world premiere of Palmer Park at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

TICKETS

Tickets for A Raisin in the Sun are from $10.00 – $65.00 (prices are subject to change). Single Tickets for all of Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s 2012/13 productions are on sale. Single Tickets can be purchased online atwww.MilwaukeeRep.com, through The Rep’s Ticket Office by calling 414-224-9490 or in person at 108 E. Wells Street. Group tickets are also available for purchase by calling Patron Relations Manager Christine Yundem at414-290-5340.

To learn more about The Rep or its productions, please visit www.MilwaukeeRep.com.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

 

  • ·         Rep In Depth begins 45 minutes before every performance in the Quadracci Powerhouse and gives an insider’s look at the play from a member of the cast or artistic team with a pre-show discussion. This Rep in Depth will be led by guest actor Gavin Lawrence.

 

  • ·         Audio-Description Performance – on Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. there will be an Audio-Described Performance for patrons who are blind or have low vision.

 

  • ·         American Sign Language Interpreted Performance – On Thursday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. there will be an American Sign Language Interpreted Performance for patrons who are deaf or have low hearing.

 

  • ·         Captioned Theater Performance – On Sunday, April 7 at 2:00 p.m. there will be a Captioned Theater Performance.

 

  • ·         The Rep Talkbacks will be held after the 7:30 p.m. performances on Thursday, March 21 and 28, and Thursday, April 4 and 11. The Rep Talkbacks are offered immediately after select performances and offer an opportunity for audience members to ask questions about the play to Rep company members and actors in the production. For more information on The Rep Talkbacks, please contact the Ticket Office at 414-224-9490 or refer to The Rep’s Patron Guide.

 

  • ·         New this year – The Rep is hosting an event called ‘Round Six Happy Hour. The event will start with a pre-show reception in Quadracci Powerhouse lobby. The fourth event will be held on Thursday, March 14 and features complimentary appetizers and free beer provided by Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery. The event will also feature live music. This event is sponsored in part by 88Nine. The cost to attend the event is only $20 and includes the show ticket and pre-show reception. The reception begins at 6:00 p.m. and the performance of A Raisin In the Sun at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.Milwaukeerep.com/entourage/ or by calling The Rep’s Ticket Office at 414-224-9490. For more information, please contact Kaitlin Schlick, Marketing Coordinator, at414-290-0712.

 

  • ·         Matinee Lunch – Join us for lunch and a conversation about A Raisin In the Sun on Wednesday, April 3 from 11:45 – 1:15 p.m. at the InterContinental Milwaukee in Salon A. Cost is $15 per person. Please RSVP by Monday, March 25 to Jennifer Bloomer at 414-291-4790 or [email protected]intercontinentalmilwaukee.com.

 

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FACT SHEET

WHATA Raisin In the Sun

WRITTEN BY: Lorraine Hansberry

DIRECTED BY: Ron OJ Parson

THEATER: Quadracci Powerhouse

DATES: March 12 – April 14

DESCRIPTION: One of the most powerful and beloved American plays ever written, A Raisin In the Sun tells the story of the Younger family’s struggle for dignity and a better life – and the backlash that erupts when they try to move beyond their oppressive Chicago tenement home. Set just before the dawn of the Civil Rights and Women’s Movement, A Raisin In the Sun demonstrates how a single family’s dreams can change the world. Don’t miss the play that the New York Times said “changed American theatre forever.”

PERFORMANCES:

Tuesday, 3/12/13 – 7:30 p.m. – Preview

Wednesday, 3/13/13 – 7:30 p.m. – Preview

Thursday, 3/14/13 – 7:30 p.m. – Preview/’Round Six Happy Hour

Friday, 3/15/13 – 8:00 p.m. – Opening

Saturday, 3/16/13 – 4:00 p.m. /8:00 p.m.

Sunday, 3/17/13 – 2:00 p.m. /7:00 p.m.

 

Tuesday, 3/19/13 – 6:30 p.m. – Audio-Described

Wednesday, 3/20/13 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, 3/21/13 – 7:30 p.m. – Talkback

Friday, 3/22/13 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, 3/23/13 – 4:00 p.m. /8:00 p.m.

Sunday, 3/24/13 – 2:00 p.m. /7:00 p.m.

 

Wednesday, 3/27/13 – 1:30 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Thursday, 3/28/13 – 7:30 p.m. –Talkback

Friday, 3/29/13 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, 3/30/13 – 4:00p.m./8:00 p.m.

Sunday, 3/31/13 – 2:00 p.m.

 

Wednesday, 4/03/13 – 1:30 p.m. /7:30 p.m. – Lunch Matinee

Thursday, 4/04/13 – 7:30 p.m. –ASL/Talkback

Friday, 4/05/13 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, 4/06/13 – 4:00 p.m. /8:00 p.m.

Sunday, 4/07/13 – 2:00 p.m. /7:00 p.m. – Captioned Performance

 

Thursday, 4/11/13 – 7:30 p.m. – Talkback

Friday, 4/12/13 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, 4/13/13 – 4:00 p.m. /8:00 p.m.

Sunday, 4/14/13 – 2:00 p.m. /7:00 p.m. – Closing

 

TICKET PRICESRange from $10.00 – $65.00 (Prices subject to change.)

TICKETS/INFORMATION414-224-9490 or buy tickets online at www.MilwaukeeRep.com

TICKET OFFICE LOCATION: 108 East Wells Street in Milwaukee’s Downtown Theater District

TICKET OFFICE HOURSMonday – Sunday, Noon – 6 pm*

*On days with performances the Ticket Office will stay open until show time.

 

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Milwaukee Repertory Theater is a nationally-recognized company that presents compelling dramas, powerful classics, award-winning contemporary works, full-scale musicals and side-splitting comedies housed in its three unique performance venues – the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio and Stackner Cabaret. The Rep also produces an annual production of A Christmas Carol at the Pabst Theater. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements, The Rep is committed to creating plays that are meaningful and relevant to the society we live in – plays that are challenging, visceral and engage the community through the issues they explore.
Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Patty & Jay Baker Theatre Complex
108 E Wells St Milwaukee, WI 53202
Ticket Office: 414-224-9490 Ticket Office Fax: 225-5490
Administrative: 414-224-1761 Fax: 414-224-9097

Artistic Director                

Mark Clements