In 1967’s Detroit, Motown music’s got a party started in a basement after-hours joint. But a mysterious woman causes much more than a stir. As pent-up feelings erupt, so too do the streets outside with burning storefronts and police in riot gear. This time of explosive racial tension and economic uncertainty takes center stage as such themes are explored by Dominique Morisseau in Detroit ‘ 67  at SNAP. Her roots are in that town. Music from those Detroit days punctuates the story.

This play won the 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. A “poetic play of fire-fueled dreams and frustrated love,” said Detroit StarTribune, “(drawing) revelatory meaning from the ordinary.” It played at New York’s Public Theater, the Classical Theatre of Harlem and with the National BlackTheatre.

It’s part of Morisseau’s cycle The Detroit Projects. The second play, Paradise Blue,  won the L. Arnold Weissberger Award and was likewise seen at the Public Theater. Elsewhere too. The third, Skeleton Crew,  had a Barebones production at the Lark Play Development Center. She’s also written Sunset Baby,  Follow Me To Nellie’s, and Blood At The Root. Moreover her work includes the New York Times  bestseller “Chicken Soup for the African American Soul.”

Morisseau says that she “believes wholeheartedly in the power and strength of community.” This community now has a chance to hear what she has to say and to see what she means. 

Detroit ‘67 runs Mar. 9-April 2 at SNAP Productions, 3225 California Street Thurs-Sat. 8 p.m. Sun: 6 p.m. Sun. April 2nd : 2 p.m. Tickets: $12-$20.

Leave a comment