The play Anna Lucasta was a breakthrough for writer Philip Yordan, who went on to a prolific career as a screenwriter. The story of a prostitute who struggles for
respectability is similar to that of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie. Originally titled Anna Lukaska, Yordan's three-act drama was conceived as being about a
Polish-American woman and her predatory family. When he was unable to find a Broadway producer for the play, Yordan offered it to the American Negro Theatre. Company founder Abram Hill obtained the rights and adapted it for an African-American cast.
First produced in Harlem, it went on to become the first Broadway play with an all-black cast in a drama unrelated to race. The play ran for more than two years—a rare achievement
at that time—and it was adapted twice for film. Anna Lucasta cast member Alice Childress was inspired to write the Obie Award-winning drama, Trouble in Mind (1955),
based on her experiences in the production.
A girl making her way through life as a prostitute seeks forgiveness from her family. The Lucastas, working-class people in a coal mining town,
are selfish people whose daughter, Anna, has left home to lead what they consider a "life of shame" in the city. Rudolf, the son of a friend,
comes to visit them on the suggestion of his father. He has several hundred dollars in his pocket and is eager to marry. The family decides that
the youth is a hick, but there is a chance to marry off Anna "respectably". However, Rudolf turns out to be rather attractive and graduated from
an agriculture college. When Anna returns home, she is fascinated by him and the two fall in love, though she is still in love with her sailor
boyfriend Danny. Anna gradually awakens to find out what it means to be treated by a kind young man. For Anna is not a degenerate, but a high
spirited girl driven from home by her father's puritanical cruelty. Without telling Rudolf about her past, she agrees to marry him. But on her
wedding day, Danny shows up. Anna, believing that a life with Rudolf is impossible, returns to her old haunts in the city. Rudolf realizes he
loves Anna more deeply, and sets out to find her. He makes her realizes his love for her and they go off together.