Raisin Review - Broadway musicalThe adaptation of L. Hansberry’s novel was positively accepted by the critics. Though some of them claimed that the book for the musical is a bit better than the staging itself, it was still called lovely and warm. The reviews said that both those, who do not like musicals and those, who like them, would enjoy the production. It is quite unusual for the Broadway performances. The critics also notice that the wall were broken, the speech was realistic and perfectly mixed with sounds of musical instruments. Compared to the novel, some sass and action were added to the show.
Donald McKayle, who was chosen to be a director, did an amazing job. Being a talented dancer, he also did his best in choreography for the spectacle. He was nominated for Tony and Emmy Awards for plenty of times, which is one of the reasons, why the staging became so successful. Being a Professor of Dance at University of California, Irvine, he managed to create beautiful movements and trained the performers hardly. As a director, he applied ensemble-acting concept. It means that the acting is observed in complex, by the whole cast and not by a single actor.
All the performers are called outstandingly strong. There is no weak acting in the play. Look, for example, at Ernestine Jackson, who took part in both original and revival version of the musical. This “Hello, Dolly!” star was magnificent in her roles. Her acting brought a Theatre World Award and a nomination for Tony Award in the original spectacle. The secondary role actors were good as well. The characters of Bjorn DuPaty and Andy Prosky are remarkable for conviction.
The production is often referred to as tragedy, as dreams of the main heroes were not fulfilled. But there is a kind of hope here anyway. They made a big step forward, little things changed for the better. The spectacle had a great influence on both society and the industry of musicals. Some years later, there was another staging called “Clybourne Park” written. There is a reference to this production in it, as the house of the main characters is mentioned.
Concerning the music, it is marvelous. There are motives from ballads and gospel, African love songs and parts of some other styles. But it seems that songs are not too important here. The most striking thing is still the acting. Music just completes the show. Set decorations are simple, but exact. The bar, the park and the house are perfectly designed. As for the suits, they reflect America of 1950s. Bernard Johnson is a master of costume design. Everything in this show deserves the attention of the audience – nice costumes, gifted acting, beautiful voices and dances. The musical has its own heartbeat, which will touch the souls of every viewer.
Last Update:July, 12th 2016