Teesee’s Town

Lorraine Hansberry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning American theater masterpiece, “A Raisin in the Sun”, which debuted in Chicago in February of 1959 at the Blackstone Theatre, will be staged Feb. 5-14 on the same stage where it premiered over 5

Lorraine Hansberry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning American theater masterpiece, “A Raisin in the Sun”, which debuted in Chicago in February of 1959 at the Blackstone Theatre, will be staged Feb. 5-14 on the same stage where it premiered over 50 years ago. The current production is being presented by The Theatre School at DePaul University at its Merle Reskin Theatre, 60 E. Balbo St. Directed by Phyllis E. Griffin, this hometown story is the fiercely moving portrait of a Black family on Chicago’s South Side in the 1950s. This seminal first play by a Black woman ever to be produced on Broadway is a timeless drama of family, hope and inspiration.     The original, celebrated Broadway cast (after its Chicago stage debut) included Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Ivan Dixon, Glynn Turman, John Fiedler, Lonne Elder III, Ed Hall, Douglas Turner Ward and Lou Gossett Jr., most of whom recreated their roles in Columbia Pictures’ 1961 film of the same title. (“Teesee” can be seen in a couple of bit roles in the movie, parts of which were filmed in Chicago’s Kitty Kat Klub on 63rd Street.)     Showtimes: Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., and Sundays, 2 p.m. Previews: Feb. 3 and 4, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15; subscriptions and group rates (six or more persons) are available by calling (312)-922-0999. Seniors (over 60), DePaul employees and alums, and college students receive a discount (with ID). Previews are free for college students (with IDs). Call the Box Office, (312) 922-1999.      Delta Doings – Delta sorors host a town hall meeting, State of Emergency: Changing the Destiny of Young Men of Color, at D’Estee, 4525 S. King Dr., on Saturday, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., to address the crisis concerning “at risk” young men. Spearheads: Delta Sigma Theta Chicago Alumni Chapter’s Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence Committee. Co-chairs, Dana London, Ashley Allen and Reggee McClinton Jackson, have reached out to the Urban League, U. of I. and CeaseFire Illinois regarding programs and resources available to change the trajectory of the lives of “at risk” young men. Panelists will explore problems plaguing them and look at solutions to the ever-growing violence and hopelessness they are experiencing. Admission is free and open to all interested persons!      Show & Tell – Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, longtime pastor of Monumental Baptist Church in Memphis and longtime leader in the civil rights movement who is now the only living person who actually spent the last hour of Dr. Martin Luther’s King’s life with him in his room in the Lorraine Hotel, comes to Chicago State University Thursday, 12:30 p.m., for a screening and discussion of The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306, an Academy Award-nominated documentary. The free event at the Cordell Reed Student Union is open to all. Call (773) 995-4440.     Type-Casting – Chicago-born Hollywood movie and TV actor Shariff Atkins (ER, CSI: Miami, Cold Case, White Collar, Early Edition, Eve, Hawaii, etc.) who comes home for Saturday evening’s gala premiere of his new Warner’s Bros. film, Preacher’s Kid, is actually a “preacher’s kid.” His proud mom Rev. Jacqueline Atkins, an ordained minister, is also an attorney; and his proud papa is Judge David Atkins. The Chicago premiere is hosted by Christ Universal Temple at Chatham ICE Theaters, 210 W. 87th St. Preacher’s Kid, Shariff’s first major film acting role, is the ageless Biblical parable of the prodigal son cast in a 21st century urban setting. Capitol Records’ LeToya Luckett is the love interest. Premiere tickets at $20 will benefit CUT’s Project Achieve, which will fund a 10-day tour of Historically Black Colleges & Universities this spring. Call Walter Robinson, (773) 568-2282. Shariff grew up in Hyde Park and Chatham, attended McDade Classical Elementary School, Whitney Young High School and Northwestern University.        History/Science Makers – Five of the nation’s leading African American medical scientists, Dr. Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Dr. Edwin Cooper, Dr. Erich D. Jarvis, Dr. Roderic Pettigrew and Dr. Luther S. Williams, will discuss the impact  of science and technology on improving the quality of life when Julieanna Richardson and The HistoryMakers host The Value of Science: Improving the Quality of Life on Feb. 6 at the Museum of Science & Industry. The evening (a reception and program) is sponsored by MSI’s Black Creativity Council, Association for Women in Science, U. of C. Medical Center and Chicago Council on Science & Technology. WVON-AM/1690’s Cliff Kelley emcees; Sue Conway & Friends entertains at the 5:30 p.m. reception.      Newsy Names – Paul King, chair and founder of UBM Inc., the largest African American-owned and operated construction service firm in Chicago, discusses and signs his book, Reflections on Affirmative Action in Construction, Wednesday, 4 p.m., at Roosevelt Univ., his alma mater, in the Sullivan Room in the Auditorium Bldg. King tells the unknown 40-year struggle by Blacks to gain access to the construction industry … Congrats to the Chicago Defender’s Earl Calloway on his induction into the National Civil Rights’ Hall of Fame during the 23rd Anniversary King Celebration of the National Civil Rights Library, officiated by William G. Thurmond, chair … Happy 12th anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Steven Jones (Dayna).         Curtain Call – Jackie Taylor reminds us that after a couple of “by popular demand” extensions, her latest Black Ensemble Theater show, The Message is the Music (God is a Black Man Named Rickey), closes with Sunday’s 3 p.m. matinee. Starring Rick Stone and featuring songs by Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, The Isley Bros., Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Paul Simon, et al., it’s a new look at an old story with a new twist and in true BET fashion, the road is paved with rollicking laughter, devilish dance and a whole lot of soulful sounds. Call (773) 769-4451 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. BET is located 4520 N. Beacon.      Athol Fugard’s award-winning drama, Master Harold … and the Boys, directed by Jonathan Wilson, is currently being staged at Timeline Theatre, 615 W. Wellington, through March 21. Acclaimed for its universal themes of humanity and its unforgettable dialogue, this widely admired masterpiece explores life in South Africa during the 1950s era of apartheid, depicting how institutionalized racism, bigotry or hatred can become absorbed by those who live under it. When a white 17-year-old and two Black workers he’s known all his life connect on a rainy day, their wide-ranging discussions illustrate all that unites us and the gulf of what still divides us. Order tickets online at www.timelinetheatre.com or call (773) 281-8463.  


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