View Full Version : 2/25/08 Diddy Brings Broadway Classic "A Raisin In The Sun" To TV

02-25-2008, 07:48 PM


Diddy Brings Broadway Classic To TV
written by Janeť Bolden
Sunday - February 24, 2008

Monday night (Feb. 25th) marks the premiere of television's second incarnation of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin In The Sun," this time starring entertainment mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs.

Combs will reprise his role as Walter Lee alongside Tony award-winning actresses Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald, as well as the Tony nominated Sanaa Lathan. All four actors were part of the 2004 Broadway version that marked Combs theatrical debut.

Despite previous roles in Monster's Ball and Made, Combs received mixed reviews for his Broadway performance; however, both he and his co-stars say the televised version of "A Raisin in the Sun" will reflect his growth as an actor.

"It was more about experience and an understanding of how to completely engulf yourself and become a character and really give yourself up to the role," Combs told the Associated Press. "It was almost like what was going on in the house, that struggle to be heard. I wanted to make sure my character was heard."

"What I saw was a natural progression that comes with the doing of it, with the working of it," Phylicia Rashad said. "He is a very disciplined professional."

Set in Chicago, "A Raisin in the Sun," tells the story of the Younger family, mother Lena (Rashad) her daughter Beneatha (Lathan), son Walter Lee (Combs) and his wife (McDonald) and their struggle over how to spend a $10,000 insurance check.

The 1959 play was the first drama by a black woman produced on Broadway and starred Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands and Louis Gossett, Jr., who reunited in 1961 to create a film version. "Raisin" was also adapted for telefilm in 1989 with Danny Glover and Ester Rolle as Walter Lee and Lena.

Emmy winner Paris Qualles ("Tuskeegee Airmen") adapted the script for Monday's ABC version from Hansberry's unpublished screenplay "Raisin," which was not used for the 1961 film.

"Lorraine Hansberry is one of those playwrights that sits in the company of August Wilson or Tennessee Williams," director Kenny Leon told the AP. " 'Raisin in the Sun' is a specific story about this African American family but has a universal appeal for all Americans."

Both the director and his cast maintained a connection with the play's original cast. Leon consulted the late Lloyd Richards, the play's first Broadway director, while Combs says he invited Poitier, the original Walter Lee, to lunch to "get his permission."

"It's like if somebody came and did Scarface. They should at least put in a courtesy call (to Al Pacino)," said Combs. "So I called him up and he was honored and he told me to do it my way."

In addition to Combs acting duties, he also executive produced "Raisin" alongside Oscar-winning "Chicago" producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

"A Raisin in the Sun" airs February 25 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

02-26-2008, 01:14 AM
I just saw it tongiht. It was excellent. Diddy actually did good.

02-29-2008, 06:42 PM
I just saw it tongiht. It was excellent. Diddy actually did good.

Yeah I saw it too and thought he did a great job. The reaction though was kinda mixed. Alotta people are saying that he put his all into it and did as good as he can do but that there are certain people who just aren't meant to be actors and he falls into that category. I thought he did good though and people shouldn't be comparing him to such great co-stars Sanaa Lathan and Felicia Rashad. He did get hella good ratings.


Diddy Takes Top Ratings Spots
February 28th, 2008 | Author: Omar Burgess

When Nielsen releases its Trend Index next week, Sean "Diddy" Combs will likely be at the top of the ratings charts. The founder of Bad Boy Records and the Sean John clothing line helped draw in over 12 million viewers during ABC's Monday broadcast of A Raisin in the Sun.

"I was destined to play this role because my father was killed when I was three years old," Combs recounted to the Associated Press. "I grew up in a house with three women--my mother, my grandmother and my sister. I went through those years of having to watch my mother and my grandmother work two jobs and not being able to take care of my family..."

Although Diddy's acting skills have garnered mixed reviews from critics, the broadcast drew the highest views among women between the ages of 18-49 for an original movie on network television in nearly two years. The television adaptation of Lorainne Hansberry's 1959 play retained a majority of its cast from the 2004 Broadway revival, which also featured Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald and Sanaa Lathan. The film was also executive produced by Combs, who saw the Monday episode of his MTV show Making The Band 4 become the top rated adult cable show during the 10 p.m. hour.

"You will see me in more things to come," Combs added. "I want to take my time and feel confident."