Lorraine Hansberryâs A Raisin in the Sun was the first play by a black woman to be on Broadway and is now an immortal part of the theatrical canon. Two years after its premiere, the production came to the screen, directed by Daniel Petrie. The original starsâincluding Sidney Poitier and Ruby Deeâreprise their roles as members of an African American family living in a cramped Chicago apartment, in this deeply resonant tale of dreams deferred. Following the death of their patriarch, the Youngers await a life insurance check they hope will change their circumstances, but tensions arise over how best to use the money. Vividly rendering Hansberryâs intimate observations on generational conflict and housing discrimination, Petrieâs film captures the high stakes, shifting currents, and varieties of experience within black life in midcentury America.
Interview from 1961 with playwright and screenwriter Lorraine Hansberry
New interview with Imani Perry, author of Looking for Lorraine, on the real-life events on which the play is based
Episode of Theater Talk from 2002 featuring producer Philip Rose and actors Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis
Excerpt from The Black Theatre Movement: From âA Raisin in the Sunâ to the Present, a 1978 documentary, with a new introduction by director Woodie King Jr.
New interview with film scholar Mia Mask, author of Poitier Revisited