New Jersey's Axelrod Performing Arts Center has announced that Fredi Walker-Browne will lead their 50th Anniversary production of Raisin, running February 24–March 12.
Based on Lorraine Hansberry's classic play A Raisin in the Sun, Raisin is an oft forgotten musical adaptation that experienced strong success upon its debut, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1974, and playing for more than 800 performances on Broadway.
Walker-Browne will play family matriarch Lena Younger, stepping into the role that won Virginia Capers a Tony in the original production. She will be joined by Ethan Joseph as Travis Younger, Roderick Lawrence as Walter Lee Younger, Gia Ware as Ruth Younger, Alexandria Reese as Beneatha Younger, MOZIAH as Joseph Asagai, and Burt Conrad as Karl Lindner.
In Raisin, Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun is transformed into a grounded musical exploring a Black family's quest for a better life. The work features book by Hansberry’s widower Robert Nemiroff alongside Charlotte Zaltzberg, music by Judd Woldin, and lyrics by Robert Brittan, The original production received nine Tony nominations, and won the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.
The Axelrod production will be directed by Evelyn Collins, and feature choreography by Dormeshia. Phylicia Rashad, who previously received a Tony for her portrayal of Lena in A Raisin in the Sun, serves as the production consultant, with approval from the Hansberry Estate.
Said Axelrod artistic director Andrew DePrisco: "Of all the lost musicals in Broadway history, Raisin may be the one show that most deserves to be heard and seen again, especially at the present time... We are honored to be collaborating with TV and theater legend Phylicia Rashad and her close colleague, director Evelyn Collins to bring this historic revival to life.”
For more information, visit AxelrodArtsCenter.com.