Viewing page 12 of 27

[[double line]]

with the American Southside Chicago Younger family and their fears, frustrations, longings and dreams. A study of audiences during those years would reveal a progressively growing social consciousness, as Americans began to catch up with the artist's prophetic vision in sensing the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement, the growing awareness of feminism including not only the strength of women, but also their vulnerability in interpersonal relationships with their men, the essential nurturing bonds of family and the need for all members, from youngest to oldest, to have space in which to dream.

During her career as a playwright, Hansberry wrote many articles and essays on literary criticism, racism, homophobia, world peace and other social and political issues. Above all else, in her writings and public speeches is the insistent theme that neither individuals nor groups should ever permit moneyed values to transcend personal integrity and firm social commitment. In her own society in the near half century since the advent of A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway, however, one grim reality remains: African Americans are still the most rigidly segregated population of American citizens, with millions concentrated in major urban metropolises across the country.  Lorraine Hansberry knew that grim ills follow from such circumstances, blighting the lives of masses of people and threatening the fabric of society. She knew as well that human beings themselves - not blind chance - play the major roles in charting the course of human affairs. Human purposes and human dreams, as she repeatedly expressed it, should always aim high enough to "embrace the stars." Today, A Raisin in the Sun continues to resonate, holding the power still to reach new audiences and influence new generations.

Fortunately, at the playwright's death, she left behind file cabinets holding her public and private correspondence, speeches and journals and various manuscripts in several genres: plays for stage and screen, essays, poetry and an almost complete novel. In addition to the above works, her published writings (Vintage Books)include The Drinking Gourd, What Use are Flowers? and The Movement, a long essay written as text for a photojournalistic treatment of the Civil Rights Movement. A documentary on the life and works of the artist is currently underway, and two biographies are forthcoming in 2005 and 2006, respectively. The Uncollected Works of Lorraine Hansberry will also be published in 2006.

Jewell Handy Gresham Nemiroff
[[line]]

WHO'S WHO IN THE CAST

SEAN COMBS (Walter Lee Younger) appears opposite Halle Berry in Monster's Ball and made his acting debut in the film Made. As CEO and founder of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, he has established himself as a music pioneer, producing chart-dominating hits for superstar artists like Aretha Franklin, Sting, Janet Jackson, Mary J Blige, Jennifer Lopez and Notorious B.I.G. As a solo artist and performer, he's released four multiplatinum albums, and this year won his third Grammy Award for the #1 song "Shake Ya Tailfeather" from the Bad Boys II soundtrack, which he executive produced. In addition to music, Combs has broadened the Bad Boy brand to encompass publishing, management, marketing and advertising, films, restaurants and the Sean John clothing line, which was nominated for the Perry Ellis Menswear Designer of the Year Award for four consecutive years. This past year, Sean added the title of "Marathon Man" to this slate, having completed the 2003 New York City Marathon for children's charities. Sean raised more than two million dollars and continues to play an active role in raising awareness of the education and health issues facing the children of New York City. Sean is a proud father to sons Justin and Christian and stepson Quincy.

AUDRA McDONALD (Ruth Younger) recently appeared on Broadway in Lincoln Center's acclaimed Henry IV. A three-time Tony Award winner, for her performances

[[end page]]
[[start page]]

[[double line]

WHO'S WHO IN THE CAST

in (Ragtime, Master Class) and Carousel), she also starred in Marie Christine) (Tony nom.).  TV includes "Wit" (Emmy nom.) directed by Mike Nichols (HBO), "Having Our Say" (CBS), "Annie" (ABC/Disney), "Law & Order: SVU" and the honorable but short-lived "Mr. Sterling" (NBC) co-starring Josh Brolin.  PBS appearances include "A Richard Rodgers Celebration," "A Capitol Fourth," "Broadway Leading Ladies," "Leonard Bernstein's New York" and her solo concert, "Divas at the Donmar."  At Carnegie Hall, she made her debut in 1998, singing with the SF Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas: played Julie Jordan opposite Hugh Jackman in a concert version of Carousel: and made her solo debut in 2002.  Other concerts: LA Philharmonic, NY Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Tanglewood, Boston Pops, National Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Théâtre dy Châtelet (Paris), Royal Albert Hall/BBC Proms (London ).  Her three solo albums, Happy Songs, How Glory Goes and Way Back to Paradise, were released by Nonesuch Records. Her other recordings include a live concert of Dreamgirls, Sweeney Todd: Live at the Philharmonic, Cradle Will Rock (BMG) and Wonderful Town (EMI). Training: Juilliard, BM in voice. Favorite career move: Mommy to Zoe Madeline Donovan.

PHYLICIA RASHAD (Lena Younger) previously appeared on Broadway in Jelly's Last Jam, Into the Woods, Dreamgirls, The Wiz and Ain't Supposed to Die a National Death. Recent Off-Broadway includes Blue, The Story, Everybody's Ruby and The Vagina Monologues. Recent regional credits include Blues for an Alabama Sky and Medea (Alliance) and August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean (Mark Taper Forum). She received NAACP Image Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her performances on "The Cosby Show" and "Cosby." The twice Emmy-nominated and People's Choice Award winner is also a recipient of the NY Women in Film and Television Muse Award and has appeared in the TV films "Free of Eden" co-starring Sidney Poitier, "David's Mother" and three films directed by her sister, Debbie Allen: "Polly," "Polly: Comin' Home!" and "The Old Settler" (on which she was co-executive producer). Films include Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored directed by Tim Reid, Loving Jezebel and The Visit. Ms. Rashad serves as spokesperson for PRASAD, an international philanthropic organization, and is on the board of Recruiting New Teachers. An accomplished singer, she's a member of Broadway Inspirational Voices and has performed with major symphonies across the country. She has earned a BFA from the College of Fine Arts at Howard University.

SANAA LATHAN (Beneatha Younger) was last seen starring opposite Denzel Washington in the crime thriller Out of Time, for which she earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actress. She recently completed filming Alien vs. Predator, in which she stars, due out this summer. Previously, she starred in Brown Sugar alongside Taye Diggs (NAACP nomination, BET Award nomination as Best Actress), The Best Man opposite Taye Diggs (NAACP nomination, Best Supporting Actress), Love and Basketball opposite Omar Epps (NAACP Award, Best Actress; Independent Spirit Award nomination, Best Actress), Life with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, Blade with Wesley Snipes and The Wood. Television credits include a series-regular role on NBC's "Lateline" with Al Franken and the HBO film "Disappearing Acts" opposite Wesley Snipes. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, She has appeared in numerous regional theatre production and has performed Off-Broadway in The Vagina Monologues, Por' Knockers, A Movie Has to Star in Black and White (at the Public) and Measure for Measure (at the Delacorte for Shakespeare in the Park).

DAVID AARON BAKER (Karl Lindner). Broadway: The Rainmaker, Once Upon a Mattress, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, The Moliere Comedies, White Liars/Black Comedy, The Flowering Peach. Off-Broadway: Rose's Dilemma, The Glory of Living, Hobson's Choice, Ancestral Voices, Bosoms and Neglect, Blue Window, Durang Durang, Oblivion Postponed. Film includes Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda (2004), Marie and Bruce (2004), Kissing Jessica Stein and The Tao of Steve. Television includes Dis-
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.