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True Blood's Rutina Wesley to star in A Raisin in the Sun


Rutina WesleyOBIE Award-winning director Lou Bellamy will take the helm when L.A. Theatre Works records A Raisin in the Sun for radio broadcast. The Pulitzer Prize-winning classic by Lorraine Hansberry will star Judyann Elder, James Gleason, Noah Gray-Cabey (Heroes), Deidrie Henry, Terrell Tilford, Rutina Wesley (HBO's True Blood) and Mirron Willis in five performances, November 17-21, at the Skirball Cultural Center. L.A. Theatre Works' nationally syndicated radio theater series airs locally in Southern California on KPCC 89.3 every Saturday from 10 pm - midnight and can be streamed on demand at www.latw.org.

The gripping tale of an African American family's search for a way to grab its piece of the dream, even in the face of prejudice and discrimination, A Raisin in the Sun was the first authentic voice of a black playwright to hit the Broadway stage. Living in a tenement apartment on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s, the Younger family awaits an insurance payout that could make its dreams of a better life come true - but each member of the family has his or her own idea of how to use the money. The title of the play is inspired by a line in the poem "Harlem: A Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes.

A Raisin in the Sun was the first accurate and honest portrayal of the African-American experience to appear on the popular American stage. It has been called "one of a handful of great American plays" by the Washington Post and the play that "changed American theater forever" by The New York Times. Raisin premiered on Broadway in 1959 with a cast that included Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Ruby Dee and Louis Gossett Jr. It was nominated for four Tony awards, and 29-year-old Lorraine Hansberry became the youngest American and the first black playwright to win the New York Drama Critics' Best Play of the Year citation. A Columbia Pictures feature with the same cast followed in 1961. A 2004 Broadway revival starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald was awarded two Tony awards and was then reincarnated as a made-for television movie.

For three decades, L.A. Theatre Works has been the leading radio theater company in the United States, committed to using innovative technologies to preserve and promote significant works of dramatic literature and bringing live theater into the homes of millions. L.A. Theatre Works' radio theater series can be heard locally in Southern California on Saturday from 10pm to midnight on KPCC 89.3 FM, and can also be streamed on demand at www.latw.org/. The series can also be heard on the following stations (check local listings for broadcast times): 89.7 WGBH, Boston; 91.5 FM WBEZ, Chicago; 94.9 KUOW, Seattle; 90.1 WABE, Atlanta; 94.1 KPFA, Berkeley; 91.1 KRCB, North Bay (San Francisco); and many other stations nationwide.

Performances of A Raisin in the Sun take place on Wednesday, November 17 at 8 pm; Thursday, November 18 at 8 pm; Friday, November 19 at 8 pm; Saturday, November 20 at 2:30 pm; and Sunday, November 21 at 4 pm. Tickets range from $20.00 to $49.00. L.A. Theatre Works at the Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd, off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the Santa Monica Mountains (exit Skirball Center Drive). For tickets and information, call the L.A. Theatre Works box office at (310) 827-0889 or go to www.latw.org.

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