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Monday, March 18, 2013

A Raisin at The Rep

Brilliant drama, outstanding performances

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The Milwaukee Repertory Theater brings a great work of 20th-century American drama to the stage. Directed by Ron OJ Parson, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sunresonates with the kind of passion that has made it a critical and commercial success over the years. A strong ensemble compellingly renders the concerns of an African-American family living in Chicago in the early 1950s.

Greta Oglesby gives an outstanding performance as matriarch Lena Younger, who is due to collect a great deal of money from her late husband's life insurance policy. Oglesby wields an impressive amount of inner strength in a role that serves as a central point around which the rest of the drama revolves.

Chiké Johnson plays the dreamer Walter Lee Younger with admirable energy. He doesn't quite hit the high points of intensity that the role can reach under the right circumstances, but it's a solidly well-modulated performance.

Mildred Marie Langford is compelling as Beneatha—the intellectually inexhaustible young woman who aspires to become a doctor. Langford balances a sharp pose with a deep impetuosity that makes for a really textured characterization.

Christophé Abiel puts in a graceful performance in the role of Joseph Asagai, a student from Africa who has feelings for Beneatha. Abiel balances the joyous nature of a character truly passionate about life against his rather dark background back home. He compellingly renders the sophistication of the character in a striking and endearing way.

A Raisin in the Sun
runs through April 14 at the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater. For ticket reservations, call 414-224-9490 or visit milwaukeerep.com.