The highly anticipated special three-hour television movie adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun, based on the play that inspired a generation, will air as an ABC Premiere 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.
Sean Combs, who reprises the role of Walter Lee, Jr., which brought him acclaim, stars along with the cast of the award-winning Broadway revival, who recreated their roles for the 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.
Executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, whose big screen movie musical Hairspray is one of the breakout hits of the summer, said of their latest event for television: "We are honored to have brought a new movie version of A Raisin in the Sun to ABC, from Sony Pictures Television, to a new generation of viewers. We are humbled by our formidable cast and are very grateful to Steve McPherson for giving us the coveted slot on the night after the Oscars."
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, 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. A Columbia Pictures feature with the same cast followed in 1961.
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 has 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, 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 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. 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.