Shows R

RAISIN Music by Judd Woldin; Lyrics by Robert Brittan; Book by Robert Nemiroff and Charlotte Zaltzberg. Based on Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In the Sun 46th Street Theatre, New York - 18 October, 1973 (847 perfs) THE STORY: The action takes place in Chicago in the 1951. ACT I Framed by the back porches, fire-escapes and blankly staring tenement windows, the Southside ghetto - its youth workers, women, Lindy-hoppers at a party, a drunk wending his way home - comes to life in a powerful street ballet that culminates in the riveting portrait of a pusher finding his victim while members of the community look on helplessly. This world provides the pulse, heartbeat, and framework of the Younger family’s existence. And though in it exists joy, lightness, laughter, and hope, it is, nonetheless, a ghetto: a world of such soul - and body - grinding oppression that survival sometimes requires escape. In the early morning at the Younger apartment, Ruth rouses her son, Travis while she calls her husband to breakfast. Walter Lee, desperate to leave his job as a chauffeur and join the “successful” members of his society, thinks and talks of nothing else except the imminent arrival of his father’s life-insurance cheque - and the opportunity it provides him to go into business as partner in a liquor store. Ruth reminds him that his mother is absolutely set against the selling of liquor, but Walter tries to get his wife to “sell” Mama on the idea. The more he persists, the more Ruth retreats into her morning chores. Frustrated and angry, he tells her a man needs for a woman to back him up and scathingly remarks on how rarely women seem to care about their husband’s dreams. Travis presents another problem: he needs fifty cents for school. Ruth tells him bluntly that she doesn’t have the money but then, softening as he heads for the door in disappointment, she succeeds in conveying to him much more than fifty cents of motherly love. On the way to work Walter Lee encounters other members of his community likewise scurrying frantically to get where they’re going - which, in his eyes, is nowhere. Later, driving his employer about the city, Walter grows increasingly incense at his position in life - and at last bolts from the car to act on his liquor-store deal. Mama comes home from her job as a domestic. Clearly her enormous warmth and strength have given the family solid, if not always “modern” values and roots. It is her dream to get out of the cramped tenement quarters and into a house of their own - a dream she confides to her small, struggling potted plant. At a local bar, Walter Lee celebrates his deal for the liquor store with Bobo Jones, one of his new partners-tobe, and Bobo’s girlfriend. The third partner in the deal, Willie Harris, arrives and prematurely - in the absence of the money - the deal is sealed. Beaneatha Younger, a rebellious young college student seriously intent on becoming a doctor and just as ardent about the kind of values she wants for the world, is also serious about Asagai, an African exchange student. For her, he symbolises the intriguing continent from which her people came. At first teasingly, then tenderly, Asagai explains the meaning of the nickname he has given her as she stands enraptured by the images he creates of his country. (Alaiyo). Walter Lee, inebriated, arrives home with the partnership papers signed and notarised to find Beneatha, awaiting Asagai, engaged in an exhilarating, if largely hypothetical, “African” dance. Learning that the cheque has come, he joins his sister in a moment of wild abandon in which he sees himself as a tribal chieftain, supreme in his own land and time, leading warriors in a victory dance. When Beneatha leaves with Asagai, Ruth again tries to caution Walter that Mama might not see things his way. In bitter anger, Walter flings her from him then heads for the streets. Ruth bars his way and recalls the closeness they once shared, asking what