Broadway World Review: A Raisin in the Sun

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BWW Review: Nashville Rep's Passionate RAISIN IN THE SUN

Jeffrey Ellis | Broadway World

Jackie WelchTamiko Robinson Steele and Lauren Frances Jones together onstage are like the royalty of Nashville theater: three formidable actresses who bring a wealth of experience to any role they play as individuals. Yet, collectively, the three women are more than mere forces of nature, they are nature itself, their remarkable talents combining to create a theatrical experience that will long be remembered, venerated and discussed among those people fortunate enough to see them in Nashville Repertory Theatre's stunning and passionate production of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun.

Directed with passion and heartfelt emotion by Rene D. Copeland, Nashville Rep's producing artistic director, and starring NFL legend/Broadway veteran and First Night Award winning actor Eddie George in the role of Walter Lee Younger, this production of A Raisin in the Sun isn't approached as an aging work of art in some museum of the theater. Rather, Copeland crafts a production that breathes new vitality into Hansberry's classic work, revealing it as an organic - still evolving and as timely as ever - drama which still challenges its audiences to examine the facts and failings of their own lives in the communities in which they live.

Hansberry's affection for the Youngers is obvious and reverberates throughout her sharply written dialogue - and her incisive consideration of the family's efforts to pursue its own version of the American dream, amid the changing racial climate of post-World War II America, closely mirrors events that her own family endured prior to the war and resulted in a lawsuit that found its way to the Supreme Court. Hansberry's vividly created, multi-dimensional characters are made of flesh and blood, individuals to whom you find yourself emotionally drawn. In fact, if you find yourself unmoved by events taking place onstage, you must be heartless, so completely involving is Hansberry's script and so riveting are the performances on display in Copeland's exquisitely crafted revival.