A RAISIN IN THE SUN runs January 24 – February 18, 2018. Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking family drama is the first play in our American Legacy series! Tickets at americanstage.org/RAISIN | #asRAISIN #asLEGACYSERIES
By Alexandria Crawford, American Stage 2016/2017 Acting & Production Apprentice Alumni
Former Apprentice Takeover! & Why we need RAISIN now; January 12th, 2018:
Hello, everyone! My name is Alexandria Crawford. Last season here at American Stage, I was a member of the inaugural class of Acting and Production Apprentices at American Stage. You may remember me as Martha Loomis Pentecost in the last August Wilson Century Cycle Play, JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE. Since finishing up the apprenticeship in August, I was blessed to be asked to stay with the theatre as a teaching artist. It has been an absolute joy teaching theatre to young artists and being apart of their creative endeavors. For me it all comes full circle; when I was a child, my love for theatre began here taking classes with American Stage Education. It’s pretty cool how life works out that way.
Currently, the theatre is in rehearsals for A RAISIN IN THE SUN by Lorraine Hansberry. It is the first in their new American Legacy Series. I am so excited for this production, as it happens to be one of my favorite plays. So much to the point, that last season when our Artistic Director mentioned the possibility of doing this play next season, I became one of its biggest advocates. The play, whose title comes from a line in the Langston Hughes poem, HARLEM, is about the Younger family living in the south side of Chicago in the 1950s. They are about to receive a $10,000 life insurance check after the death of Mr. Younger. Each family member has a different dream in how they would like to use the money. As the play progresses, you see how those dreams clash with one another and how it affects them all as a family. For audiences, It leaves open the question that Langston Hughes asks in his poem HARLEM “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?”
Producing this play here in Saint Petersburg is so important because like all communities in our country, we have our own history when it comes to race and gentrification. Conversations about these topics are rarely held in mix company and if they are, they are very surface level. If ever we are to make real change in our communities it is important that we get to the root of the topic and face it head on. Only then can we truly grow and do better. By producing this play, it opens a door to these conversations that we normally wouldn’t have.
This play is also one that is often required reading for high schoolers in English classes (at least it was in mine). What is great is that American Stage has just started a new Young Americans initiative for people under 20 to see live theatre for free and for those between 21-30 to see it at a discounted price (for more info check out www.americanstage.org/YA). So to any high schooler’s who may be reading this blog and have to write a paper on this play, seeing the live show would be super helpful for you!
American Stage’s production of A RAISIN IN THE SUN runs January 24th- February 18th. It is directed by L. Peter Callendar (who directed the last two plays of the August Wilson Century Cycle for American Stage) and features an incredible cast! In fact, one of the boys who is playing Travis Younger, (Elijah Jordan) was one of my students this past summer during American Stage Education Summer Camp (check out the classes we offer at www.americanstage.org/education). There goes that full circle thing again! Buy your tickets now for this is a show you don’t want to miss!
Check out some footage from our First Rehearsal!