Review: Celebration Arts’ A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun: Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm. Through March 24; $10-$20; Celebration Arts, 2727 B Street; (916) 455-2787;
Rated 5.0

Lorraine Hansberry’s iconic A Raisin in the Sun isn’t produced much these days—a shame since the play about an African-American family trying to traverse the social and racial issues of 1950s Chicago still resonates.

Thankfully, Celebration Arts chose this family and cultural drama to unveil their new theater space—transitioning from their old East Sacramento digs into one of B Street Theatre’s former spaces at 27th and B.

On opening night, there was a distinct buzz and a sold-out house, with people being turned away. Those who did get in were able to witness not only a beautiful new space for a much-beloved company, but also a wonderful, heartfelt production with a talented cast, all under the direction of Celebration Arts founder James Wheatley.

This story of the Younger family is layered with familial, economic, racial, societal and cultural divisions. Matriarch Lena has to decide what to do with a $10,000 insurance settlement, and with money inevitably come decisions and drama. Mom wants to put a down payment on a house, son Walter wants to open a liquor store and daughter Beneatha is in need of medical school tuition.

Kudos to the cast, a talented group that works in wonderful unison: K.T. Masala as the matriarch, James Ellison III as son Walter, Brooklyn Solomon as his wife Ruth and Alexandra Barthel as Beneatha.