Jan 25-Feb 17, 2019
By Lorainne Hansberry
Directed by Celeste Cosentino
A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, as well as the first with a black director, Mr. Lloyd Richards. Set on Chicago’s South Side, the plot revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee, his wife Ruth, his sister Beneatha, his son Travis, and matriarch Lena. When her deceased husband’s insurance money comes through, Mama Lena dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school. The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama. The Younger family’s heroic struggle to retain dignity in a harsh and changing world is a searing and timeless document of hope and inspiration.
"Pivotal play in the history of the American Black theatre." -Newsweek
"A milestone in the American Theatre." -Ebony
NY Drama Critics Circle Best Play 1959.
Tickets for the final two performances are very limited!
Please call for availability! 216-321-2930
MEET THE CAST AND CREW
Angela Winbourn* (Lena Younger) is thrilled to be back on the Ensemble stage. She was last seen in the production of A Song For Coretta here at Ensemble. Angela is a Cleveland , Ohio native, who has a BS Degree and also studied Theater at Ohio University. Angela is also a Director and vocalist who recently, this past summer performed at the Cleveland Playhouse stage reading of the Nolan Williams Project. Angela has performed all over Northeast Ohio in many productions including (Mama) The Colored Museum at the Cleveland Museum of Arts, Crowns ( Cleveland Playhouse), Tuning In ( E J Thomas Hall), Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at The Beck Center, Once On this Island at Porthouse Theater and has performed in over 30 productions at Karamu in the eighties and nineties. Film credits: White Boy Rick with Mathew Mc Conaughey, Antwone Fisher( Woman In White) directed by Denzell Washington, and Spiderman II. Angela has also appeared in several commercials in the Cleveland and Pittsburg area. Angela is currently the director /manager of the City of Cleveland Summer Arts Program, The Showagon. She would like to say thank you to Celeste for the opportunity to work with this wonderful cast of A Raisin In The Sun. (*Member of Actors’ Equity Association)
Eugene Sumlin (Walter Lee Younger) is excited to return to Ensemble after making his Ensemble debut as Joshua Moore in Alabama Story. Recent credits include: Sir Peter in ELLA ENCHANTED (Dobama), Jesse/ensemble in MINTON’S PLACE (Cleveland Playhouse), Adam/Noah in CHILDREN OF EDEN (French Creek Theatre), Jim Conley in PARADE (French Creek) Ken in AIN’T MISBEHAVIN (Porthouse Theatre), Capt. Scott in PETER AND THE STARCATCHER (Dobama Theatre), King Triton in THE LITTLE MERMAID (Mercury Theatre Company), Ken in SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE (Cain Park), Papa Ge in ONCE ON THIS ISLAND (Orchard Arts Project), and Donkey in SHREK THE MUSICAL (Fine Arts Association and Beachwood Community Theatre). He would like to thank God, from whom all blessings flow, and to Nicole, Easton and August, for their love and support.
Zyrece Montgomery (Beneatha Younger) is an Actor-Teacher for Great Lakes Theater. She has recently moved back to Cleveland and is eager to enter the Cleveland theater scene. Some of her most recent roles have been Olivia in Twelfth Night, Friar Laurencia in Romeo and Juliet, and Mom in The Marilyn Bianchi Kids Playwright Festival. This is Zyrece’s debut performance with Ensemble Theater and she is very excited to be apart of such a great production.
Nicole Sumlin* (Ruth Younger) is an actor, singer, director, and arts educator based in Cleveland. NYC: Medusa (MEDUSA), Zu (PROJECT TIRESIAS), Judge Jill Joyce (HOW TO BE A WINNER), and Columbiner (ReB+VoDkA+ Me). Regional: TREASURE ISLAND (Long John Silver), MEMPHIS at Cain Park (Felicia); CHILDREN OF EDEN at French Creek Theatre (Eve/Mama Noah); THE MUSIC MAN at Cain Park (Marian Paroo); CAROLINE, OR CHANGE at Tantrum Theater (The Washing Machine); THE NOLAN WILLIAMS PROJECT (2017) at CPH; LINES IN THE DUST at Cleveland Public Theater (Denitra Morgan); BOURBON ON THE BORDER at The Maltz Museum (May); SONGS FOR THE ASKING at Playhouse Square; MR. BURNS: A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY at Cleveland Public Theatre (Jenny/Bart); VIOLET at Lakeland Civic Theatre (Lula Buffington); Elizabeth Keckley in A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS at Dobama Theatre. She has also been seen at The Fine Arts Association, Orchard Arts Project, Near West Theater and Mercury Theatre Company, MOCA-CLE, Bop Stop, Nighttown, and Severance Hall. She received her vocal training at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. She is a proud AEA member. She gives praise to God for His faithfulness, and for Eugene, Easton and August. (*Members of Actors’ Equity Association)
Easton Sumlin (Travis Younger) is excited to make his Ensemble debut with A RAISIN IN THE SUN. He was most recently seen as Young Abel/ Storyteller in CHILDREN OF EDEN at French Creek Theatre and Chen in SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS at Dobama Theatre. Other credits include: Jackie Thibodeaux in CAROLINE, OR CHANGE at Tantrum Theater, Boris Tumbleweed in THE BATTLE OF THE COCKROACH AND THE RHINOCEROS BEETLE at Dobama Theatre; The Dauphin in MARIE ANTOINETTE at Dobama Theatre; Rerun Van Pelt in YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN and The Three Princes in ALADDIN, JR. at Heights Youth Theatre. He studies ballet and tap at Cleveland City Dance and is a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Youth Chorus.
Leilani Barrett (Joseph Asagai)(SAG-AFTRA), first seen on the Ensemble Theater stage as The Devil in The Devil and Tom Walker and last as Roosevelt Hicks in August Wilson’s Radio Golf is extremely delighted to return in this iconic show with this amazing ensemble! An actor, dancer/choreographer, voice over artist and graduate of Cleveland School of the Arts continued his education at The Ohio State University before leaving to tour internationally with the New York City based Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co. His stage credits include the title role in Othello, Edmund in King Lear, Bolingbroke in “Richard II”, Tom in “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”. In addition to his stage work, Mr. Barrett’s voice can be heard in commercials for Cincinnati Bell, Subway, McDonalds, Nike, Ohio Lottery and First Energy while on camera he can be seen in the studio films “Reel Steel”, “Draft Day”, “Dog Eat Dog”, “Curvature”, and the soon to be released “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” with Zac Efron. Leilani would like to thank his family for their support and love especially his mother Earletta Doss-Barrett without her he would not be the artist he today.
Nnamdi Okpala (George Murchison) is overjoyed to work with such talented people and make his Ensemble debut with such a great piece. Currently pursuing his B.A. in Theatre Arts at Cleveland State University, he has played Paris in Romeo and Juliet and the Narrator in She Kills Monsters. He is grateful for his family, educators and everyone involved in making this production possible. IG @whynnamdi.“
Bobby Williams (Bobo) is honored to be a part of this revival of ‘Raisin’. Twenty five years ago Bobby was cast with Renee Matthews-Jackson in ‘Loving Yours, Langston and Lorraine’, a tribute to two great artists, conceived by Ensemble Theatre’s own Licia Colombi. Featured in the piece were many scenes from ‘Raisin’. Other local credits include ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ for the Beck Center, ‘Venus’ and ‘Fugitive Pieces’ for Cleveland Public Theatre, ‘Ain’t Nothing But the Blues’ for Karamu Theatre and ‘As You Like It’ , twice, for Cleveland Shakes.
Chris Bizub (Karl Linder) is thrilled to be returning to the Ensemble Theater! This is his 8th production with Ensemble, having previously appeared in such classics as Mama/Moon, The Iceman Cometh, and Waiting for Lefty. Chris has a Masters’ in Arts Administration from the University of Akron as well as a Bachelors’ degree in Theatre from Baldwin Wallace College. He currently works at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as a Registration Assistant and at Playhouse Square as a Ticketing Concierge. Some recent credits include Oliver (Bill Sikes) at French Creek Theater, The Crucible (Judge Danforth) and Richard III (Richard III) at Rubber City Theater, Equus (Harry Dalton) at Blank Canvas Theatre, and Of Mice and Men (Curley) at Coach House. When he is not performing, Chris also directs. Some recent directing projects include: As You Like it at Rubber City Shakespeare Company, Exit the Body at East Cleveland Theater, Panache at Clague Playhouse, and The Odd Couple and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] at Strongsville Community Theater. Chris would also like to thank his wonderful wife Brittany for agreeing to let him be a part of this production, as his severe addiction to theatre keeps him away from home entirely too often.
MEET THE CREW
Celeste Cosentino (Executive Artistic Director/Director) has served as an Artistic Associate and Operations Manager or in some "role" for Ensemble Theatre since she could walk. She has served in one capacity or another for local Cleveland theatre's her entire life, spending many formative years "in the house" while her mother, Lucia Colombi, was interim Artistic Director for Karamu in the early to mid 80's, the same years her mother spent founding Ensemble Theatre. She is well known and respected in the Cleveland Theatre Community having worked with The Cleveland Play House, Dobama Theatre, Clague Play House, Cain Park, Bang & Clatter, Willoughby Fine Arts and Weathervane Playhouse. She is a graduate of the Ohio University School of Theatre and returned to Cleveland in 2008, after living and working in New York City. Some of her favorite acting credits are Marela in Anna in the Tropics, Alice in Closer, Desdemona in Othello, and Kayleen in Gruesome Playgound Injuries. Favorite directing credits include both parts of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, The Gospel According to James, Death of a Salesman, Lower Ninth, Animals out of Paper, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, and The North Pool. She cannot express how honored she feels to be directing such an important piece with A Raisin in The Sun. Celeste is the daughter of Ensemble Founder, Lucia Colombi and has returned home to support her mother's mission by providing a fresh perspective as the next Artistic Director. She was raised by Ensemble Theatre and has a special dedication to it's continuation for many years to come.
Keith Benford (Assistant Director/Production Assistant) is a 17 year old actor from Cleveland, Ohio. He’s been training in theater at Cleveland School of the Arts for 9 years and has been working professionally all over Ohio for 4 years. He has performed in Dobama’s Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival twice (2016-2017). He’s choreographed for Cleveland Play House’s The Royale (2018). He has also acted multiple short films with Red Bicycle Media (“Homegoing” and “Justice For Jamillio”). He feels very grateful and blessed to work in such a monumental play with a phenomenal cast and crew. He can not wait for the public to experience the powerful truth that will be displayed onstage.
Becca Moseley (General Manager/Production Stage Manager) is excited to be back for another season at Ensemble Theatre! She has served as the Resident Production Stage Manager/Assistant stage manager for many Ensemble shows, including both parts of Angels in America, Radio Golf, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, Margin of Error, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, the Iceman Cometh, Animals out of Paper, Knock Me A Kiss, Beyond the Horizon, Anna Christie, Thurgood, Death of a Salesman, and Slow Dance on the Killing Ground. She co-directed Run, Kingsbury, Run and recently Assistant Directed East of Eden. She was onstage in past seasons at Ensemble as a chorus leader in Around the World in 80 Days, Pea in Jerusalem, the Childlike Empress/company in The Never Ending Story, The Phantom Tollbooth (Princess Rhyme/Ensemble,) and as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Other favorite credits not at Ensemble include Rosalind (As You Like It,) Fabiana Cunningham (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,) Dorine (Tartuffe,) and Maggie ( A Chorus Line). Most recently, Becca played Ophelia in Hiram College's alumni inclusive production of Hamlet, and Antonia (Man of La Mancha.) She thanks Ian and Celeste for building and nurturing a theatre that provides a constant supply of great scripts and people to bring them to life, her family for their love and support, and Kyle for always believing in the magic.
Kayla Davis (Resident Costumer/Costume Design, Raisin)
Walter Boswell (Scenic Designer)
August Scarpelli (Technical Director)
Ian Hinz (Lighting Design)
James Rankin (Assistant Technical Director)
August Sumlin (Production Assistant)