Best Actress

Tia Jemison, "A Raisin in the Sun," Stageworks Theatre

In Lorraine Hansberry’s modern classic A Raisin in the Sun, the one member of the Younger family who never seems very central is Ruth, wife of Walter, mother of Travis, and a tired, overworked woman. But Tia Jemison took this part at Stageworks and made it matter so much, you had to reevaluate the whole play. As Ruth, Jemison was a wonderfully complex figure, loyal to a husband she pretended to disdain, willing to take his side only when he wasn’t around to see it, torn between a glad pregnancy and an expedient abortion. Facing two other strong women — mother-in-law Lena and sister-in-law Beneatha — Jemison’s Ruth displayed a stamina and an endurance not far from heroism. What a revelation!

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