REVIEW: The classic play “A Raisin in the Sun” continues to resonate a powerful story at Arena Stage.
by Patrick D. McCoy
At some point, we have all heard the expression that “Money is the root of all evil.” In the opening night performance of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic play “A Raisin in the Sun,” the outstanding cast at Arena Stage breathed life into every aspect of the notion. The Younger Family finds themselves yearning for a better life. An insurance check set to arrive from the untimely death of Patriarch Younger gives the family a glimmer of hope, yet a barrage of problems.
As Walter Lee Younger, the big dreaming son, Will Cobbs gave a powerhouse performance throughout. Confident with a hint of brash cockiness, Cobbs brought to his role a bold portrayal married with a spirit of resilience. In the role of Ruth Younger, the adoring wife, Dawn Ursula commanded her role, exuding affection- yet firm conviction when it came to the actions of Walter Lee. Young actor Jeremiah Hasty was outstanding in his role as Travis Younger, invested and well-prepared.
There is always that one sibling in the family that have aspirations that seem to be too high. In the role of Beneatha Younger, Joy Jones was convincing as the younger sister destined for a career as doctor. Coming into her ‘true self’ Jones, portrayal of the liberated Beneatha was like seeing a garden blossom and grow, adding such depth to the drama.
Lizan Mitchell stole the show as Lena Younger. The sheer embodiment of a sacrificial black mother caring for her family, Mitchell with every line seemed to breath fervor into every word. It was like every member of the audience was one of her children. Faith, God and love remained her cornerstone throughout. Though this was a story of the past, it echoed with great relevance.
“A Raisin in the Sun” continues at Arena Stage through May 7. CLICK HERE for tickets.
—A native of Petersburg, Virginia, Patrick D. McCoy is a graduate of Virginia State University and Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia. He has been an arts contributor for Examiner.com, CBS Washington, The Afro American Newspaper and most recently was the Performing Arts Columnist at Washington Life Magazine for four years. As a church musician, he currently serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church (Zion Parish) in Beltsville, Maryland. Visit www.patrickdmccoy.com for all of your arts news and send press releases and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.