The Goodman Theatre will feature a line-up of events celebrating author and playwright Lorraine Hansberry. The Chicago native was the first and youngest African American to win a New York’s Critic Circle award.
Born on Thursday, May 19 in Chicago she is most known for writing ‘A Raisin in Sun’ which opened on Broadway garnishing great success and later becoming a feature film. Hansberry died at 34 of pancreatic cancer.
“Lorraine Hansberry Day” in Chicago
Thursday, May 20
12 Noon | Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed May 19, 2016 “Lorraine Hansberry Day,” in honor of what would have been the Chicago native playwright’s 86th birthday. The company of The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window kicks off the special day with a reading of the mayoral proclamation—followed by birthday cake for all.
12:30pm | A conversation with artists about Hansberry’s body of work, the background and themes of the Goodman’s revival of her rarely-produced play, and her significance among American playwrights.
6pm | A screening of the 1961 film A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil and Diana Sands. Jackie Taylor, founder and executive director of the Black Ensemble Theater Company, introduces the film.
Friday, May 20
7pm | Listen to the Poem: Spoken Word and Open Mic
The Goodman Youth Poetry Ensemble delivers an electrifying performance featuring pieces from their past season and the work of other Chicago youth poets. Audience members are invited to share their own poetry works during an open mic session.
8pm | All tickets to this performance of The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window are $10 for students.
Saturday, May 21
9am and 10:30am | Play ’N 90 Workshop (two sessions)
An interactive family program in which 5-12 year-olds and their parents/guardians fashion a theatrical creation together—in only 90 minutes.
10am | Insider Access: “How Do Actors Learn All Those Darned Lines?”
Meet acclaimed actor Mary Beth Fisher (star of such Goodman productions as Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Luna Gale) and particiate in her creative process, bringing a script from page to stage.
12 Noon | PlayBuild Workshop
Realize your creative potential in this intergenerational collective workshop! Participants will create performance pieces using personal history and storytelling techniques.
2pm | Storytelling Workshop
Master the art of storytelling with teaching artists from the Goodman’s GeNarrations program. In this collaborative ensemble-based workshop, participants learn the basics of writing, editing and performing personal narrative stories.
3pm | Insider Access: “Slap! Kick! Punch!”
Have some energy to burn? Learn the art of stage combat, the technique used to perform physical combats without causing harm to actors, from a professional fight choreographer.
4:30pm | Insider Access: “Not Acting Our Age”
A lively discussion with a handful of Chicago actors age 55+ about their esteemed bodies of work and the thrill of a life in the theater.
In addition to these activities, all pre- and post-performance discussions—“PlayTalks” and “PlayBacks”—for The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window and Soups, Stews, and Casseroles: 1976 by Rebecca Gilman will take place in the Alice May 19 – 21, one hour prior to and immediately following each performance. Moderated by a Goodman artist, discussions include cast members and are free of charge for patrons.
On May 24, The Lorraine Hansberry Awards, presented by Goodman Theatre Resident Director Chuck Smith and Woodie King, Jr., New Federal Theatre Artistic Director, will honor five women: Micki Grant, Lynn Hamilton, Shauneille Perry, Dr. Glory Van Scott and Camille Yarbrough. Held at the Chicago Cultural Center, the one-time-only awards pay tribute to the unique cultural contributions of these five Hansberry contemporaries—women raised and educated in Chicago who have made indelible impacts on the American theater.
The Lorraine Hansberry Awards will held at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.; Accessible Entrance at 77 E. Randolph St.). Tickets are free, but reservations are required as availability is limited. The Lorraine Hansberry Awards are a part of Goodman Theatre’s Lorraine Hansberry Celebration (April 30 – June 5).
For full celebration information and tickets, visit: GoodmanTheatre.org/Hansberry or call 312.443.3800.