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Family Dreams of Better Life in ‘A Raisin in the Sun,’ Coming to MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Oct. 19 to 28


From left, Richard Kirschner as Lindner, Shemarquez Rice as George, Jamil Long as Asagai, Tonya Treadwell as Beneatha, Linwood Nelson Jr. as Travis, Naimah Beyah as Ruth, Lukata Mjumbe as Walter, and Cherylann Jones, seated, as Lena.

West Windsor, N.J. – An heroic struggle for dignity, the importance of family, and the attainment of the American Dream take center stage in Lorraine Hansberry’s acclaimed drama “A Raisin in the Sun,” to be presented by Theater To Go at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre. Dates and show times are: Fridays, Oct. 19 and 26 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Oct. 20 and 27 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Oct. 21 and 28 at 2 p.m. (There will be a school performance on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 10 a.m.)

Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. Free parking is located next to the theater. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Oct. 19.

The play is set in Chicago’s South Side in 1950 amidst a backdrop of racial tensions and economic disenfranchisement. Hansberry tells the story of the Youngers, three generations of an African American family living together in a small apartment while dreaming of a better life. There is son Walter Lee, a limo driver for a wealthy white man, his wife, Ruth, his son, Travis, his sister, Benethea, and matriarch Lena. When Lena receives insurance money following the recent death of her husband, the family must decide how to spend it, bringing their various hopes and dreams into sharp contrast. Which is more important – family or wealth? And, in a racially segregated Chicago, is any payback worth sacrificing one’s dignity?

First performed on Broadway in 1959, the play’s title is a reference to the Langston Hughes poem “Harlem,” in which he wrote about what happens to dreams that are forgotten or too long delayed.  The play was nominated for four Tony Awards and was named Best Play of 1959 by the New York Drama Critics' Circle. The 1962 film adaptation earned Sidney Poitier a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Denzel Washington starred in a 2014 Broadway revival, which won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

Starring as members of the Younger family are Lukata Mjumbe of Lawrenceville as Walter, Cherylanne Jones of Ewing as Lena, Naimah Beyah of Ewing as Ruth, Linwood Nelson Jr. of Newark as Travis, and Tonya Treadwell of Ewing as Beneatha.  Also featured are Jamil Long of Ewing as Asagai, Shemarquez Rice of Levittown, Pa., as George; Richard Kirschner of New Hope, Pa., as Lindner; and Brian Christopher of Willingboro as Bobo.

The production team includes Director Ruth Markoe, Stage Manager Melissa Rittmann, Costumer Ruth Rittmann, Set Designer John Russell, Lighting Designer Kitty Getlik and Sound Designer Eric Collins.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $14 children/students. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater. Discounted subscription series for the 2018-19 season are still on sale. For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.

Most family shows include Saturday and Sunday matinees; some children’s shows are scheduled for daytime performances on Fridays to accommodate school groups. For more information or to request a printed copy of the brochure, call the Box Office at 609-570-3333.

Kelsey Schedule
Kelsey Theatre Website
Audition Information
Theatre Workshops for Children and Teens

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