A Raisin in the Sun at The City Theatre
Updated: Sep 6, 2018
The City Theatre is tucked away into a small strip center on an unassuming corner of 38th and Airport Blvd., but what happens on the stage inside is anything but small. This weekend I made my first visit to the theater to see the company’s production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. The play, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, began its run on February 25 in celebration of Black History Month and will wrap up its final performances this weekend.
I’d never seen A Raisin in the Sun before, and the story affected me deeply. The plot revolves around the Younger family, three generations of African-Americans living in one small apartment in the city who dream of having a house of their own. A financial windfall makes that a possibility, but, of course, life and fate intercede. As an audience member at the City Theatre, you feel like you have stumbled right into the action with a seat close to the stage that allows you to read the expression of every cast member, something that simply isn’t possible at many large-scale productions.
Everyone in the cast was pitch perfect in their parts, but I think special recognition should be given to Kristen Bennett, a graduate of St. Edwards University and already a B. Iden Payne Award winner who took what could have been a downer of a role as Ruth Younger and infused her performance with warmth and humor. The story gives each of the major characters a chance to shine, and each of the actors rises to meet that challenge.
The City Theatre is a newcomer to the Austin theater scene. It began in 2006 and by 2009 was voted the best theater company in Austin on Austin360.com's A-List. The rest of the company’s 2010 season includes How the Other Half Loves (March 25–April 18), The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told (June 10–July 4), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (July 22–August 15) and Into the Woods (August 19–September 12).
Tickets to A Raisin in the Sun are $15 at the door. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday with a 5:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday evening. For more information, visit CityTheatreAustin.org.