The one and only Rita Moreno visited Broadway's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, currently playing a 2023 Tony-nominated revival at the James Earl Jones Theatre. Moreno originated the role of Iris Parodus Brustein, currently played by Rachel Brosnahan, when the Lorraine Hansberry play received its Broadway premiere in 1964.
Moreno hasn't seen the play from the audience since the play premiered nearly 60 years ago. Hansberry's play follows Sidney Brustein and Iris Parodus Brustein, a couple with a passionate and sometimes tense marriage living among the artists, politicians, and activists in New York City's 1960s West Village. The play explores what it means to be engaged with the world all the time. Hansberry also delivers a portrait of the complexities and pitfalls of predominantly white bohemian intellectualism.
Hansberry died just three months after The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window began its debut on Broadway in 1964. But even in her last days, she was revising the script from her sick bed based on notes brought over from the theatre. The work, in some ways, can be considered unfinished—Hansberry faced so many challenges in its final stages. That’s one of the reasons it’s not as well-known as her A Raisin in the Sun.
See Moreno meet Brosnahan and the rest of the cast in the gallery below.
Starring opposite Brosnahan as Sidney Brustein is Oscar Isaac in his Broadway debut. The two are joined by the complete company from the BAM run which has stayed with the production for its Broadway bow, including Gus Birney as Gloria Parodus, Julian De Niro as Alton Scales, Glenn Fitzgerald as David Ragin, Andy Grotelueschen as Wally O'Hara, 2023 Tony nominee Miriam Silverman as Mavis Parodus Bryson, and Raphael Nash Thompson as Max. Rounding out the company as understudies are Gregory Connors, Brontë England-Nelson, Joey Auzenne, and Katya Campbell. BAM's production was the play's first major New York revival—a 1972 Broadway return ran for just 5 performances.
Obie and Lortel winner Anne Kauffman (The Thugs, Mary Jane) directs the seldom-seen work after staging a 2016 production at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. Kauffman's Broadway creative team includes scenic designer dots, costume designer Brenda Abbandandolo, lighting designer John Torres, sound designer Bray Poor, hair and wig designer Leah Loukas, and movement director Sonya Tayeh. Ralph Stan Lee is production stage manager, and casting is by Taylor Williams. Arminda Thomas serves as dramaturg.