Set on Chicago's South Side, A Raisin in the Sun revolved around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee (Denzel Washington), his wife Ruth (Sophie Okonedo), his sister Beneatha (Anika Noni Rose), his son Travis (Bryce Clyde Jenkins) and matriarch Lena, called Mama (LaTanya Richardson Jackson). When her deceased husband’s money comes through, Mama dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school. The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama.
Originally produced in 1959, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway, where it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. The Washington Post has called it “one of a handful of great American dramas. A Raisin in the Sun belongs in the inner circle, along with Death of a Salesman and Long Day’s Journey into Night.” The New York Times has hailed it as “the play that changed American theatre forever.”