The staff of Theatre NEO at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO), will host the final show of the 2013/2014 season, A Raisin In The Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry. The play will be presented April 24-27 in the Fine Arts Auditorium. The play will be staged at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, April 24 – 26, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 27. Price of admission is $10 for adults and $6 for seniors and students. NEO students, faculty and staff are admitted free with ID. Reservations can be made by calling 918-540-6302. Contact Barbara George, Director of Theatre for more information.
Although the show made its Broadway debut in 1959 and has seen many revivals on stage and in film (among the many remakes of this powerful story are those films starring Sidney Poiter and Danny Glover; the play is currently in revival on Broadway with Denzel Washington), this will be the first time the show has been produced by NEO, or in Miami.
The title of the play comes from the poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes, and the story is based on a black family’s experiences on Chicago’s south side. Although the cast, with the exception of one minor role, is African-American, the show could be about any race of any oppressed group at any time in the history of this country or of the world. A Raisin In The Sun is based on an actual lawsuit to which the Hansberry family was a party. This case was held prior to the passage of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing.
At its core, A Raisin In The Sun is the story of a hard-working family’s struggle to rise out of poverty and to finally claim it’s place in the American middle class. Headed by its Matriarch (Mama, played by Domonique Lindsey of Little Rock, Ark.), the money from the life insurance policy of her late husband has made it finally possible for the three generations of her family to leave the cramped tenement apartment in which they have been living for the past 40 years. Her son, (Walter Lee Jr., played by Dewayne Murphy, also of Little Rock) has other plans for the insurance money. Walter’s wife, Ruth (played by Na’Tuiya Davis of Lawton, Okla.) and their son, Travis (played by MarQuan Durant of Tulsa, Okla.) long for a home of their own and a bed for Travis, who has been sleeping on the living room sofa his entire life. Walter’s younger sister, Beneatha (played by Clarissa McJunkins of Muskogee, Okla.) only hopes to complete college and fulfill her long-time goal of being a doctor, and the first in her family to become a professional.
A detailed and intense portrait of this family and its struggles - financially, emotionally, and socially - A Raisin In The Sun speaks to the hearts of audiences of all ages and races and ethnicities. Hailed by the New York Times as having “…changed American theatre forever,” the play is a joyous experience.
Rounding out the cast are Beneatha’s two suitors, George Murchison (played by Devante Thomas of Sapulpa, Okla.), who is a wealthy young black man, and Nigerian student Joseph Asagai (played by J. W. Watson of Tulsa, Okla.). Karl Lindner, a representative of the Clyborne Park Improvement Association is played by Tyler Graham of Grove, Okla.