While watching "Lost" last night, I caught a promo for ABC's teleplay of "Raisin In The Sun". I love this play. I dug reading it in high school. I dug watching the Sidney Poitier/Ruby Dee starring film of it. I dug reading it with alternative education kids as a long term sub and watching the same movie with them 18 years after my first experience. I even dug the "Strangers With Candy" episode where all the speaking roles are filled with white kids while the black kids are all cast as trees in the background.
What I can't dig is a major bit of casting for this latest version. Sean Combs in the lead. This is a travesty in my opinion. I realize that the recent Broadway cast was transferred over to the new version and he was part of it, but I didn't like his casting then and I don't now. I haven't seen the show with Combs. My problem then and now is there are loads of actors struggling to make it that could have done wonders with the part. For the television version, why not Terrence Howard or Mekhi Pfifer? You know, actors? Combs tarnishes everything he touches. Even the commercial mentioned him as an executive producer. Why not a mention of Lorraine Hansbury?
This casting is the latest in irksome choices on the parts of broadcasters who choose gimmicks over substance. The recent "Grease" competition show and MTV's "Made" are guilty here. Both provide funding for coaches and instructors to elevate the participants to new heights, which is a smack in the face to people who take the long road, training hard for their craft. Disgusting.
The only good I could imagine coming of this is a new generation of kids will be able to experience the play for the first time. I can live with that.