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Black Rep Stages 'A Raisin In The Sun'

The Black Rep

The Black Rep is bringing the iconic 1950s drama “A Raisin in the Sun” back to St. Louis.

This is the first time the company will stage “A Raisin in the Sun,” although 10 years ago it presented “Raisin,” a musical adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s drama about a black family’s experiences in Chicago.

“It is an American story. It is definitely about dreams and living life on the American landscape for the African-American and the quest for the piece of pie,” said actress Andrea Frye, who plays “Mama” Lena Younger.

In the play, Mama lives with her adult children, including her son Walter, and their families in a Chicago slum. She is waiting on a check from the insurance company that could change the family’s lives.

“Mama has some ideas about what should happen to it,” Frye told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “She wants a good house. She wants a little patch of dirt where she can grow a garden and her grandson can play in the summertime. (She wants) an opportunity for a career for her daughter who is passionate about being a doctor. And Walter Lee has ideas about what should happen with that money. He wants to have a business.”  

Walter wants to open a liquor store, which has potential to bring money to the family, but Mama doesn’t like that type of business. That relationship between a father and son (and what Mama wants) recently hit home for director Ed Smith.

“When I look at the play, I see mother,” Smith said. “It’s hard to live a life without a mother. I just lost my mother. When I look back and working on this play, I relate this play to my mother.

“There have been moments since I’ve been back from the funeral, I would be sitting in rehearsal and I would just sit still. Oh my gosh, it’s mom. I never said anything to the cast about it, but I’m sure my stage manager would notice me. I would just close my eyes and I’m listening to the words of Lena and, boy, that’s mom.”

“A Raisin in the Sun” opens Nov. 28.

Related Event

"A Raisin in the Sun"

  • When: Nov. 28-Dec. 21, 2014
  • Where: Emerson Performance Center at Harris-Stowe State University, 3101 Laclede Ave., St. Louis
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.