by Tracy Sow, Special to The New Tri-State Defender
Hattiloo Theatre’s production of “Raisin” is the musical adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s timeless “A Raisin in the Sun,” which depicts a black family’s struggle to achieve the American dream.
Set in segregated 1950s Chicago the same as the original, the play adds a twist that offers passion and hilarious commentary.
The twist definitely did not distract from the plot of the original production.
Walter Lee Younger, played by Kortland Whalum, and his mother Lena (Patricia Smith) disagree about the use of the insurance money. He wants to start a business with his two friends, while she wants to move the family out of South Side Chicago and into Clybourne Park, an all-white suburb.
The cast was quite convincing on stage as a unit depicting all the elements of family: laughter, struggle and strength.
“I am very much enjoying the performance. I’m loving the reaction that I’m seeing in the audience, as well as what’s being created on stage by the actors. There is a great intimacy to it,” said Jay Innerarity, one of the attendees for the night. “They just bring out this wonderful emotion. They made me cry.”
Kristian Wright, who at 13 is the youngest member of the cast, was Trevor Younger.
“The cast is loving and more careful about everything they do. They took time from work just to help me with my singing and acting,” recalled Wright.
Directed by Mark Alan Davis, this cozy Hattiloo Theatre production united a multicultural audience with a resounding theme of hope – an excellent choice for the entire family during African-American Music Appreciation Month. Catch the show before it ends July 1.