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Detroit Public Theatre Announces its 2017-18 Season

Detroit Public Theatre's (DPT) third season kicks off September 28, 2017 with a Detroit premiere and ends with its first-ever commissioned work - a new play that will make its world debut on the DPT stage inside the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center.
Two of the featured playwrights in the season, Dominique Morrisseau and Noah Haidle, serve on the board of directors of Detroit Public Theatre. The relationship between two of America's most critically acclaimed playwrights and a relatively new regional theatre demonstrates a mutual commitment to producing world class theatre in Midtown Detroit.

Producing Artistic Directors Courtney Burkett, Sarah Clare Corporandy, and Sarah Winkler are thrilled about the lineup of celebrated, contemporary American writers that highlight the 2017-18 season.

"DPT is honored to bring another of Dominique Morisseau's acclaimed Detroit Plays, Skeleton Crew, home to Detroit. We are also proud to announce that this season will include our first-ever world premiere and commission of a new play, Birthday Candles, by internationally lauded playwright Noah Haidle and directed by Vivienne Benesch (Artistic Director, Playmakers Rep)." says Burkett.

For its second engagement of the season, DPT is proud to offer audiences the opportunity to experience world-renowned solo performer Nilaja Sun's virtuosity in her Detroit premiere. Sun will perform two separate works No Child..and Pike Street.
The theatre will also bring electrifying, soulful songs and a story of sisterhood to Detroit with a production of the new musical Marie and Rosetta by George Brant.

In addition to its regular season, this summer, Detroit Public Theatre will tour a mobile production of Dominique Morisseau's hit play Detroit '67. DPT closed its 2015-2016 season with a production of Detroit '67 and received a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to remount the play, reaching communities across the city with a tour to Detroit neighborhoods, cultural, community, and educational institutions.
"We're so excited to have the opportunity to share this stunning work across the city," DPT Producing Artistic Director Sarah Winkler said. "The Knight Foundation support is allowing us to bring this play right into neighborhoods. This really gets to the core of our mission - to produce relevant theatre that illuminates the thrills, joys and challenges of our shared human experience."

DPT will also be a lead partner in Public Enemy: Flint, which will take place at the Sylvester Broome Center in Flint, MI from June 8-10, 2017. Performances of Public Enemy: Flint will be free to attend and accompanied by open public events and facilitated dialogue.

"The project is a contemporary staging of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People," states DPT Producing Artistic Director Sarah Corporandy. "More than simply a play, Public Enemy: Flint is a collaboration of local, national, and international community leaders,educators, and theatre artists. Working together the partners are creating educational and community programming that will be a visible new forum for diverse stakeholders in Flint to explore ways forward through the water crisis."
Detroit Public Theatre 2017-2018 Season ScheduleAll performances will take place on the DPT stage inside the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, in the heart of Detroit's cultural district.

SKELETON CREW by Dominique Morisseau

Directed by Steve Broadnax

Detroit Premiere

Sept. 28 - Oct. 29, 2017

Opening Night: Saturday, September 30, at 8 pm

Student Matinees: Oct. 4 and Oct. 11 at 10 am

The third in Dominique Morisseau's acclaimed Detroit trilogy, Skeleton Crew is poetic and powerful. Set at the start of the 2008 recession, a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure. Power dynamics shift, and the co-workers are pushed to the limits of survival. When the line between blue collar and white collar gets blurred, how far over the line are they willing to step?

NO CHILD... created and performed by Nilija Sun

Directed by Hal Brooks

Nov. 11 - Nov. 18, 2017

Opening Night: Saturday, Nov. 11, at 8pm

Sun transforms herself with rapid-fire precision into the teachers, students, parents and janitors who inhabit one New York City public school. See how one determined woman can change the lives of countless others in this tour de force piece that crackles with wit and wisdom.

PIKE STREET created and performed by Nilija Sun

Directed by Ron Russell

Nov. 19 - Nov. 26

Opening Night: Saturday, Nov 19, at 8 pm

On the Lower East Side, a mother works hard to keep the electricity flowing for her daughter's respirator while a hurricane looms nearby. As she prepares for disaster, a vibrant host of characters bring new meaning to the phrase "it takes a village."


Directed by Courtney Burkett

Feb. 15 - March 11, 2018

Opening Night: Saturday, Feb. 17, at 8 pm

Referred to by some as the "godmother of rock 'n' roll," Sister Rosetta Tharpe influenced the likes of Elvis Presley and Ray Charles with her fierce guitar playing and unique style of gospel. Marie and Rosetta features electrifying songs as it brings us into Tharpe's first rehearsal with young protégée Marie Knight before they set out to become one of the great duos in music history.


Directed by Vivienne Benesch

World Premiere

May 10 - June 3, 2018

Opening Night: Saturday, May 12, at 8 pm

Birthday Candles will take audiences on a magical 100 year journey with Ernestine Ashworth as she travels from her 17th birthday through her 117th. This world premiere by internationally acclaimed playwright Noah Haidle was commissioned by Detroit Public Theatre and will be directed by Vivienne Benesch.

DPT's Shakespeare in Prison Program

In addition to the mainstage season, DPT's Shakespeare in Prison program is entering its sixth year at Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility. The program utilizes theatre exercises and Shakespearean text to give inmates opportunities to gain confidence, learn essential skills, and become empowered.Through their work, inmates are transformed, gaining new insights that positively impact their lives and communities.


Detroit Public Theatre is a non-profit organization producing world-class plays and programs with world-class writers, directors, actors, and designers in the heart of Midtown Detroit's thriving cultural district. Fearless, fresh and made in Detroit, the company's productions strive to illuminate the thrills, joys and challenges of our shared human experience.

More information about Detroit Public Theatre and its productions, programs, and tickets is available online at

2017-2018 season subscriptions and single tickets go on sale May 5th.

Photo Credit: Chuck Nowak

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