Detroit Night on Broadway celebrates Detroit pride and playwright Morriseau

Curtain call for dancer and cast of Skeleton Crew.
Curtain call for dancer and cast of Skeleton Crew.
(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

When playwright Dominique Morisseau recently called for a Detroit Night at the Samuel Friedman Theatre for her play Skeleton Crew, fans, friends, and family did not disappoint. Detroit x-pats including many actors flocked to the show.  Tee-shirts for sale there read: Detroit vs Everybody. 

Fans from the metro area and theatre lovers—prompted by press coverage filled the theater. One hundred Detroiters including Mayor Mike Duggan got on planes to attend the Broadway production. Before the play began, Detroit’s mayor offered remarks about the abundance of hometown talent that flows from that city and presented Morisseau with a print of a painting. 

Supervisor and worker with seniority, the union rep. Also, old friends. Brandon J. Dirden and Phylicia Rashad.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

Skeleton Crew is the third of her Detroit-trilogy. Taking place in the break room of a small automotive factory about to be shutdown, the cast of four, three workers and their supervisor, navigate work and their relationships as the wheels of downsizing grind on. Phylicia Rashad plays the worker with seniority—29 years, the union rep. Ruben Santiago-Hudson directed the play.  Its limited run ends February 20.

Morisseau has written nine plays.  Detroit 67, the first of The Detroit Projects, received Columbia University’s Edward Kennedy Prize for Drama—with a $100,000 award, in 2014.  She is a 2018 MacArthur Foundation recipient. 

This Detroit-influenced playwright wrote the book for Ain’t Too Proud  (about the Temptations)—its run affected by COVID, closed in mid-January. 

Her next play is just around the corner. Dominique Morisseau’s Confederates New York premiere directed by Stori Ayers traces the identities of two Black American women throughout time.  It will run March 8 – April 10 at the Signature Theatre.  

Director Ruben Santiago in a brief “talk-back” after the play with cast and the understudies.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)