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Saturday, March 01, 2008


I finally got around to watching the TV version of the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. When I heard that, Sean Combs was cast in what was to be the Broadway revival of the groundbreaking play by Lorraine Hansberry, I was skeptical and quite frankly surprised at the casting choice. After all, Combs was to play opposite thespians like Audra McDonald, Sanaa Lathan (who was nominated for a Tony for her portrayal of this role of Beneatha) and Phylicia Rashad. What business did Combs have starring in a play with actors like that? Combs is a rapper...not an actor, right? After watching this made for TV movie, I was impressed with Combs' abilities in this emotionally dramatic role and do see potential for him as an actor.

There is a scene in this play...the highly dramatic, emotional scene with Walter Lee Younger admits to his family that all of his late father's insurance money is gone. It was an intense much led up to that one scene and no sooner than it began, it was over...and as an audience member, you felt for each person in that family...and you wanted to take in that moment and then...frickin' ABC goes to commercial and cuts it off. Ok, I understand its TV and the advertisers must do their thing. But I felt cheated of that emotional moment. And cutting to commercial then cheapened the moment for me because it was such an intensely powerful moment. THIS my readers wouldn't have happened in a live performance (obviously) and I'm sure others would agree that a lack of interruption would have made the entire play more effective. But...alas.

Anyhow...the real point of this post was to praise the performance. It was one of the best specials I've seen on TV in a long time and definitely one of the best produced by the team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (I have not been big fans of anything else they put on the small screen...I think it would have been best if Annie, The Music Man and Cinderella were never brought to TV audiences...they were all really that bad).

Incidentally, I just found out that there was actually a musical adaptation of the play created by the ex-husband of Hansberry entitled Raisin. The musical was nominated for nine Tony Awards and won two including best musical and best actress in a musical in 1973.


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