Collected together, two of the most electrifying classic masterpieces of the American theater, remarkable not only for their historical value but for their continued ability to engage the imagination and the heart. With an Introduction by Robert Nemiroff.
“Rich and warm and funny and varied … beautifully written.” —Los Angeles Times, on The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window
“One of a handful of great American plays—it belongs in the inner circle, along with Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey Into Night and The Glass Menagerie.” —Washington Post, on A Raisin in the Sun
By the time of her death, at the tragically young age of thirty-four, Lorraine Hansberry had created two milestones of the American theater. With A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry gave this country its most movingly authentic portrayal of black family life in the inner city. Barely five years later, with The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Hansberry gave us an unforgettable portrait of a man struggling with his fate in an age of racial and social injustice.
“Never before, in the entire history of the American theater, has so much of the truth of Black people’s lives been seen on the stage,” observed James Baldwin shortly before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959. The play’s title comes from a line in Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem,” which warns that a dream deferred might “dry up/like a raisin in the sun.”
From John Blaine’s Foreword to The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window: “It is drama of such clarity that one may return to it again and again, and, I expect, emerge as deeply moved; and each time the more illumined…. Miss Hansberry, I am convinced, doesn’t know how to create a character who isn’t gloriously diverse, illuminatingly contradictory, heart-breakingly alive…. [A] personal odyssey of discovery, a confrontation with others in the process of which [Brustein] discovers himself.”