The Secret History of A Raisin In The Sun

by:  Sam Lasman at 03/27/2013

A Raisin in the Sun achieved instant success when it premiered in 1959. However, the titanic reputation of Lorraine Hansberry's masterpiece has obscured the legacy of black playwrights who preceded her. While she was the first black woman to have a play produced on Broadway, and the first black writer honored with the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, several playwrights of the Harlem Renaissance had succeeded in bringing their work to Broadway in previous decades. Of course, African-American plays had been appearing in other venues for much longer, beginning possibly with James Brown's The Drama of King Shotaway, which appeared in 1823 at the African Theater on Mercer Street. Exactly a century later, Willis Richardson's one act The Chip Woman's Fortune opened on Broadway, nearly four decades before Raisin. Garland Anderson'sAppearances went up in 1925, and Wallace Thurman's Harlem, which scandalized audiences with its depiction of the "slow drag" (a dance Walter Lee and Ruth perform in Raisin), opened in 1929. And while he is most famous for his poetry, Hansberry's friend and mentor Langston Hughes was an accomplished playwright who had several pieces, including the 1935Mulatto: A Play of the Deep South, produced on Broadway. All in all, more than twenty black dramatists preceded Hansberry on Broadway stages – though the work of black women, including Angelina Weld Grimke and Eulalie Spence, was confined to smaller stages. While it is undoubtedly a testament to Hansberry's talent and vision that she eclipsed her predecessors, her success owed much to their endeavors.

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  1. I strongly believe that the Yonge corridor needs a subway and not an LRT system like some suggest on this site. Though LRT maybe more feasible in terms of cost it doesn’t address that type of commuting pattern that exist in that area. LRTs are meant for local trips and a majority of the people coming in from York Region will be using system for long haul trips. Also keep in mind the VIVA already plans several LRT/BRT projects for the Yonge/Highway 7 corridor beyond where the new subway line will be, so I don’t think local transit be so much of an issue in York Region anyways. My only issue is the phasing of this project in relation to the DRL and the Go Express Rail. I would hope Metrolinx prioritizes the DRL first followed by the Yonge Subway extension and then the GO Express Line.On a side note is it me or has anyone noticed that with all the transit announcements we’ve been hearing about over the last 3 yrs (starting with the Spadina subway extension back in 2006) not one of these projects has started construction. I’m sorry but i don’t consider a couple of engineer marks on Sheppard Ave E progress, or better yet a sewage pipe replacement that would probably need replacement anyways before it burst in the winter “subway construction”.Politicians say most of these project will completed by 2020 … I highly doubt it. I’ll be surprised if even half of these transit initiatives are completed.Steve: The Spadina line is under construction. Utilities relocation is always part of any subway project, and you can’t dig the tunnel until you get everything else out of the way. The tunnel boring machines have been ordered. Stations on the line are in the design stage (there was a big debate at the TTC about Steeles West on October 29 about which I will report in a separate post). Opening date is 2016.The big work that has to be done on Sheppard East is the grade separation at Agincourt. That is needed whether or not there is an LRT line, but the local businesses are in a snit and tar the LRT line with what is really a GO issue. Service is planned to begin in 2013.The EAs are still in progress for Finch and Eglinton, and the latter has several major design issues that will come back for public review later this fall. Finch service is planned to begin in 2015. Eglinton will probably open in stages, given its length, from 2016 through 2019.The SRT project is almost but not quite officially now an LRT project, and that triggers a redesign. The TTC wasted some time by focussing on an RT-centric design and public presentation, but they are now in the final stages of settling the details of the LRT project with Metrolinx (according to TTC’s Gary Webster at teh October 29 meeting). The SRT is planned to re-open after reconstruction and extension in 2016.Other major projects include the work on various rail corridors (some now underway) and a major reconfiguration of Union Station that will begin in 2010, with a target completion of late 2014. This will provide over double the existing passenger handling capacity for both the subway and railway (GO) stations. generic cialis
  2. “Finally, on a side note, I think Metrolinx needs to determine which proposed rapid transit routes will suit which need. If you look at the current map, they show express/commuter rail > subway > LRT/BRT. This is great for determining capacity, but there are many proposed LRT/BRTs in the region that will exceed the speeds of rail projects. I think they should draw up a map of travel design. Local rapid transit (999m and under – Bloor-Danforth subway, Transit City), intermediate rapid transit (1000m to 1999m – Spadina subway, Yonge subway through midtown), and regional rapid transit (more than 2km – GO express rail, Yonge subway through North Toronto). This way we can see which lines will meet which proposed purpose, and can plan their future commutes and developments based upon those plans.”Kevin saysSee the problem with metrolinx is that when they came out with there RTP it was just a bunch of pretty lines on a map of the GTA. It didn’t address what kind of technology would be used for each line and why. That’s how we got into that whole debate regarding Eglinton (LRT VS ICTS). “what a waste of time”. On the other hand one shouldn’t put all the blame on metrolinx, for example. When Toronto launched Transit City the plan was also very vague. All we knew was that all the pretty lines they drew up would have some sort of LRT functionality. Two years later the TTC is finding themselves in hole because they realized that at least two of their lines maybe forced underground even though ridership doesn’t warrants it with the exception of Don Mills. Lastly I will like to address that like Metrolinx the TTC also failed to study each line in relation to the entire system because if they did they would have figured out that adding an Eglinton and Finch LRT to the system would have probably put the Yonge subway over capacity regardless if the Richmond hill subway was built.Steve: The only underground section added to Transit City officially at this point is the one on Sheppard from Don Mills to Consumers. Eglinton was always going to be underground in the central section. The south end of Don Mills will have to go underground, but if it does, it should do so as subway, not LRT for reasons already discussed here at length.Transit City was designed as a network, and the expectation was that it would do far more to serve trips that were not core-oriented than adding to subway demand. Metrolinx forecast much higher demands on the TC lines than the TTC did, and this was used to “justify” the so-called need for ICTS on Eglinton. In fact, Metrolinx has all but renounced their demand estimates certainly with respect to the Georgetown and Richmond Hill corridors in recent documents. Their model grossly overstated demand on the transit networks. cialis for sale
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Lisa Timmel,  Bevin O'Gara, and Charles Haugland share their thoughts on New Plays, Dramatury, and their experience sharing nightly conversations with the audiences that come to see our shows. Get the inside scoop of new scripts and play development!

 
 

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