A Raisin in the Sun: February 25, 8-11 pm

February 25, 2008 3:46:54 PM PST
"A Raisin in the Sun" tells the story of a family living and struggling on Chicago's South Side in the 1950s - A fiercely moving portrait of people whose hopes and dreams are constantly deferred.Ms. Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway. It premiered in 1959 with a cast that included Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Ruby Dee and Louis Gossett Jr. The critically acclaimed work was honored with the 1959 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best American play. A Columbia Pictures feature with the same cast followed in 1961. The classic, still-relevant story now will be showcased in this totally new television movie adaptation.

Sean Combs, who reprises the role of Walter Lee, Jr. which brought him acclaim, stars in the highly anticipated, special three-hour television movie adaptation from Sony Pictures Television of "A Raisin in the Sun," along with the cast of the award-winning Broadway revival who recreate their roles for the new film, including Emmy and Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad, four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, Tony Award nominee Sanaa Lathan, plus "ER" star John Stamos. Based on Lorraine Hansberry's play that inspired a generation, "A Raisin in the Sun" will air as an "ABC World Premiere Movie Event," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network, the night after ABC's live telecast of the 80th Annual Academy Awards.

The "ABC World Premiere Movie Event: A Raisin in the Sun" has been selected to be screened (out of competition) at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in January. This will be the first time that a broadcast network film will be featured at the celebrated festival.

Phylicia Rashad won the Best Actress Tony Award for her role in "Raisin" -- becoming the first African American actress to ever win the Tony in this category. Audra McDonald won the Best Featured Actress Tony Award for her role in the play, and Sanaa Lathan was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress for her performance. Sean Combs appeared opposite Halle Berry in "Monster's Ball" and made his acting debut in the film "Made."

The ground-breaking drama portrays a brief period of time in the life of the Younger family as they anxiously await the arrival of a $10,000 life insurance check made out to Lena Younger (Phylicia Rashad, "The Cosby Show"), the family matriarch, from the estate of her late husband, Walter Lee. Everyone in the family have their own ideas about how they plan to use their new-found wealth and are eager for their new lives to start.

"A Raisin in the Sun" stars Sean Combs as Walter Lee, Jr., Phylicia Rashad as Lena Younger, Audra McDonald ("ABC's Private Practice," HBO's "Wit,", ABC's "Annie" and the recent Broadway production of "110 in the Shade") as Ruth, Sanaa Lathan ("Out of Time," "Something New") as Beneatha , John Stamos (A&E's "Wedding Wars") as Mr. Lindner, Justin Martin (Broadway production of "The Lion King," "Judging Amy," "Malcolm in the Middle") as Travis, Sean Patrick Thomas ("Barbershop 2: Back in Business") as George Murchison, David Oyelowo ("The Last King of Scotland") as Joseph Asagai, Bill Nunn ("Spider Man") as Bobo and Ron Cephas Jones ("Law & Order") as Willy Harris.

The movie is executive-produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron's Storyline Entertainment, Sean Combs' Bad Boy World Wide Entertainment Group and Sony Pictures Television. The show's Broadway producers, Carl Rumbaugh, Susan Batson and David Binder, also serve as executive producers. The film is produced by John M. Eckert. Kenny Leon, who received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Director for his staging of the play on Broadway, makes his film debut with this movie; and Paris Qualles, writer of the critically acclaimed and Emmy-nominated "Tuskeegee Airmen" and "The Rosa Parks Story," adapted Hansberry's play for the new movie event.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron produced "Hairspray," executive-produced the Oscar winning Best Picture "Chicago" and the Emmy-winning "Gypsy," "Cinderella," "Annie," "Serving in Silence" and "Life with Judy Garland." Their films have won six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, eleven Emmy Awards and two Peabodys. For their work in television, their movies have amassed 66 Emmy nominations.

"ABC World Premiere Movie Event: A Raisin in the Sun" is a production of Storyline Entertainment and Bad Boy World Wide Entertainment Group in association with Sony Pictures Television.


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