Do you remember Lorraine Hansberry’s searing A Raisin in the Sun, the now classic 1959 play about racial integration and “white flight” in Chicago? Have attitudes and realities really changed over the last sixty-plus years? How does an ethical person deal with the political, economic and moral baggage of our shared American experience?
Bruce Norris helps us explore the dilemma in his prize-winning 2010 drama Clybourne Park. The first act takes us back to the 1950s, where Hansberry’s characters (and some new ones) find that middle-class suburbia may not be the American dream they hoped for. Fifty years later, Clybourne Park is changing again, as young professionals begin to gentrify the established African-American community. Clybourne Park was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play.
Michael Whitehill, who brings his expected flair and innovative staging to the production, directs Church Hill Theatre’s revival. With identity politics, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other social issues dividing our country, Whitehill believes that while Clybourne Park’s themes may sometimes be painful, the play is a powerful nudge to reflection and constructive dialogue.
Intentionally linking the past and the now, Bruce Norris has the actors play different roles in each act. The cast comprises Cynthia Bayne (Betsy/Lindsay), Simone Collins (Francine/Lena), Anthony Daly (Kenneth), John Hodgson (Russ/Dan), Christine Kinlock (Bev/Kathy), Gary Tucker (Albert/Kevin), Eddie Vance (Jim/Tom), and Frank Wirmusky (Karl/Steve).
The production team includes Kathy Jones, Assistant Director; Steve Atkinson, Stage Manager and photographer; Sylvia Maloney, Producer; Debra Ebersole, Costumes; Rachel Gwin, Make-up and Hair; Doug Kaufmann, Light Design; and Tom Rhodes, Set Construction.
Clybourne Park opens on September 9 and runs through September 25, with performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 pm on Sundays. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members, and $10 for students. Please note that the subject matter may be difficult for younger audience members. Reservations may be made on the CHT website: https://www.churchhilltheatre.org or by phone at 410-556-6003.