‘Clybourne Park’ revisits ‘Raisin in the Sun’

Clybourne Park

Act 1 of “Clybourne Park” is set in 1959. Photo: Michael Brosilow

The UIC Theatre production of “Clybourne Park,” a portrayal of white flight and gentrification as played out around one Chicago house, opens Friday with performances through the following weekend.

The Bruce Norris play, winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, is a prequel and sequel to “A Raisin in the Sun.”

The UIC production is directed by Derrick Sanders, assistant professor of theatre, who was assistant director of Broadway productions of August Wilson’s “Radio Golf” and “Gem of the Ocean.”

The play begins in 1959, when white Chicago homeowners try to stop their neighbors from selling a bungalow to a black family — specifically, the Younger family, whose decision to buy the house was chronicled in the 1959 Lorraine Hansberry play.

In the second act, 50 years later, black neighbors try to stop a white family from buying the same house, now a potential teardown in an all-black neighborhood targeted for gentrification.

The New York Times called the play “a spiky and damningly insightful new comedy.”

Sanders, founding director of Congo Square Theatre, initiated Chicago’s participation in the national August Wilson Monologue Competition for high school students. He recently directed three plays for Chicago Children’s Theatre at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, “Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money,” “Bud, not Buddy” and “Jackie and Me.”

“Clybourne Park” will be performed Feb. 21, 22, 27, 28 and March 1 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 23, 26 and March 2 at 2 p.m.; and Feb. 25 at noon.

All performances are held at the UIC Theatre, 1044 W. Harrison St. Tickets are $11 for UIC students, $14 for UIC faculty and staff and $16 for the general public. To order, call 312-996-2939.

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