Following its run at The Public Theater, Detroit '67, the much buzzed-about play by two-time NAACP Image Award recipient, Dominique Morisseau, will open at the National Black Theatre on Saturday, March 23. Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, the powerful drama will run through Sunday, April 14, presented by Time Warner. Billed as "Uptown Meets Downtown," the production is a collaboration between the Classical Theatre of Harlem (Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director), National Black Theatre (Sade Lythcott, CEO; Nabii Faison, General Manager and The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Patrick Willingham, Executive Director).
"Uptown Meets Downtown" is an unparalleled theatrical collaboration not seen since the late 1960s when renown theater icons and friends, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer and Joe Papp-founders of the National Black Theatre and The Public Theater respectively-first envisioned that theater could be a viable tool for embracing and confronting the complexities of contemporary society while nurturing artists, developing audiences, and affecting change. Fifty years ago, they partnered together on a musical adaptation of Gwendolyn Brooks' poem We Real Cool, directed by Teer, which toured the five boroughs of New York City; the co-presentation of Detroit '67 reignites a connection between these uptown and downtown theater companies, bringing together diverse audiences and neighborhoods across New York City.
Set in 1967 in Detroit, where Motown music is getting the party started, the play follows Chelle and her brother Lank, who are making ends meet by turning their basement into an after-hours joint. Always at odds, they fight over the future of the family trade. But when a mysterious white woman finds her way into their care and a string of raids increases police brutality around the city, the siblings become divided over much more than business. Suddenly, they find themselves caught in the middle of the '67 riots.
A Jane Chambers Playwriting Award Honoree and two-time NAACP Image Award recipient, Morisseau developed the play as a part of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group at The Public, which provides playwrights a platform to further develop their work on stage, while giving audiences access to new work.
The complete cast of Detroit '67 includes De'Adre Aziza (Bunny), Francois Battiste (Lank), Brandon J. Dirden (Sly), Samantha Soule (Caroline), and Michelle Wilson (Chelle).
The play features scenic design by Neil Patel, costume design by Emilio Esosa, lighting design by Colin Young, and sound design by Shane Rettig.
The show will run through Sunday, April 14 at the National Black Theatre (2033 Fifth Avenue at 125th Street in Harlem). Performances will take place Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 pm, with matinees on Saturday at 1 pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors and may be purchased online at www.classicaltheatreofharlem.org or by calling 866-811-4111. For group sales contact Nicole Judd of Walker International Communications Group at 718-703-2260 or email@example.com.
DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU (Playwright), a writer and actress, is a recent alumnus of the 2011 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, the Women's Project Playwrights Lab, and a 2011-2012 Lark Playwrights Workshop fellow. In September 2012, her play Sunset Baby had its world premiere at the Gate Theater in London, UK. Dominique's inaugural play, Follow Me To Nellie's, was developed at the 2010 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and produced at Premiere Stages in July 2011. Her produced one-acts include: Third Grade (FTT Festival), Black at Michigan (Cherry Lane Studio/DUTF), Socks, Roses Are Played Out and Love and Nappiness (Center Stage, ATH). Dominique's commissions include: love.lies.liberation (The New Group), Bumrush (Hip-Hop Theater Festival) and The Masterpiece (Harlem9/HSA). Dominique is currently developing a three-play cycle on her hometown of Detroit, entitled "The Detroit Projects." The first play in the series, Detroit '67, was developed at The Public Theater and was a finalist for the 2011 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. The second play in the series, Paradise Blue, was developed June 2011 at the Voice and Vision Retreat, the Hansberry Project at ACT in Seattle, and at Dartmouth with New York Theatre Workshop. Her
work has also been published in New York Times bestseller, "Chicken Soup for the African American Soul." Dominique is a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award Honoree, a two-time NAACP Image Award recipient, a runner-up for the 2011 Princess Grace Award, a recipient of the Elizabeth George commission from South Coast Rep, a commendation recipient from the Primus Prize by the American Theatre Critics Association, and the 2012 PoNY (Playwrights of New York) Fellow.