A Raisin in the Sun

By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Laurie Carlos
Presented by UpRise! Productions
in association with VORTEX Repertory Company


What happens to a dream deferred?

A Raisin in the Sun was the first play that Zell ever performed back at Capital City Playhouse in Austin in the 1980’s. Zell’s long-time friend and mentor, Laurie Carlos, guest artist from Minneapolis, joins UpRise! to direct this innovative production at The VORTEX. Laurie brings a totally new vision and interpretation to A Raisin in the Sun, a play that she never thought that she would be doing. But because of Zell Miller III’s relationship to this play and to his hometown of Austin where he is raising his children, Laurie was pleased to come and direct this dynamic new production of a classic.


Zell Miller III, Jolia Jones, Anne Wynter, Sade Jones, Brentom Jackson, Brian Ridley, Mick D'Arcy, and Zhane Hall.

The New York Times stated that A Raisin in the Sun "changed American theater forever." When it debuted in 1959, it was the first play written by an African American woman to be performed on Broadway. It was nominated for 4 Tony Awards including Best Play, Best Actor (Sidney Poitier), Best Actress (Claudia McNeil), and Best Director (Lloyd Richards—the first African American to direct on Broadway).

UpRise! Productions: The Root of Rebellious Creativity, was founded in 2005 as a collaboration between members of several established arts groups in Texas. This diverse band of alchemists blend artistic genres deeply rooted in a framework of social justice.

Zell Miller III (UpRise! Artistic Director) is an award-winning playwright, poet, community activist, teacher, and youth counselor. He is an interdisciplinary theater artist and a spoken word performance poet. Zell is also an accomplished playwright/director/educator and mentor. His work has appeared in the Huston Tillotson University Lit Magazine and has been featured in several issues of the on-line Map of Austin Poetry section. Although his written words can inspire great passion and emotional reactions, it’s nothing in comparison to his live performance energy. This is where you get the full no holds barred impact of this command performer. His one man show my Child, my child, my alien child, won Best Original Script by the Austin Critics Table Awards in 2007. His play Radio Silence won the B. Iden Payne Award for Best Original Script in 2008. Zell was nominated for his last production, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, for a 2011-2012 Austin Critics’ Table Awards for best director.

Laurie Carlos (Director) is an original player in the New York avant-garde performance scene where she has developed new characters and new aesthetics for the stage. Her oft-anthologized pieces writing includes White Chocolate, The Cooking Show, and Organdy Falsetto Laurie is an OBIE Award-winning actor, who created the role of Lady In Blue in for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. She received two Bessie Awards for White Chocolate and Heat.

UpRise! Productions is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division, believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin's future. Visit Austin at