Signed souvenir program from the historic original Broadway production of Lorraine Hansberry's classic A Raisin in the Sun, with signatures from cast members Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Lonne Elder III, Douglas Turner, and Ed Hall. 16 pp., 9 x 12 inches (22.8 x 30 cm.), light toning and wear along spine and edges, small surface creases in upper left corner, else fine.
After touring to positive reviews, "Raisin" debuted at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on March 11, 1959, with Sidney Poitier as Walter and Ruby Dee as Ruth. With the exception of one minor character, the entire cast was black, something unheard of on Broadway in 1959. The reviewers loved the play, and after a move to the Belasco Theatre in October, the play ran for 550 performances. The title for the play comes from a Langston Hughes poem: "What happens to a dream deferred, Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?" and the story concerns a black family on the South Side of Chicago attempting to improve their financial circumstances after the death of the patriarch. It was an instant critical and commercial success, and remains a staple of the American Theatre.
From the library of Paul McMahon, a critic, photographer and artist who worked for more than 13 years touring with Marlene Dietrich as the icon’s stage manager, announcer, dresser, secretary and escort, and later spent 25 years as an arts and entertainment reviewer and photographer with Gay Community News, Esplanade, Tommy’s Connection, The Mirror, Bay Windows and other publications.