DETROIT '67 at McCarter - A Family's Pivotal Summer in the Motor City!
It makes sense that the music of Motown is featured prominently in Dominique Morisseau's play, DETROIT'67, now running through October 27 at McCarter Theatre Center. The play is set in the Motor City during the summer of 1967, at the home of Lank and Chelle, siblings who run an after-hours party business in their basement. The lyrics and melodies of the Four Tops and Temptations aren't just a reason to dance or sing, though. They are an expression of the struggle and persistence of the characters navigating that turbulent era. You may never hear the songs in quite the same way again.
DETROIT '67 is part of Morisseau's "The Detroit Project," a 3-play cycle inspired by her connection to the city. This production's story, said director Jade King Caroll, is grounded in family. No matter what might be happening in the world outside, "you always have your family," she said.
That family-and the friends and stranger who find comfort in it-are portrayed by five talented actors including Detroit native Nyahale Allie (Unspeakable at the Apollo Theater) as Bunny, Will Cobbs (Broadway's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Sly, Helen Hayes Award Winner (Superior Donuts) Johnny Ramey as Lank, Ginna Le Vine (Picnic at The Transport Group) as Caroline, and Myxolydia Tyler (A Raisin in the Sun at Arkansas Rep.) as Chelle, a difficult role played with aplomb.
The spark that lit Caroll's past McCarter productions seems to be at a lower burn in this production, with some elements of staging and pace falling flat, but there is still much to appreciate as the production examines not only the past, but our understanding of it today. As a recent recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship Award, Morisseau is noted for "examining the intersection of choice and circumstance in works that portray individuals and communities grappling with economic and social changes."
DETROIT '67 is a moving examination of the human drama behind those changes.
Ticket Information and Performance Schedule
Detroit '67 runs October 9 - 28 in the Matthews Theatre. Tickets start at $25 and are on sale now online at mccarter.org, by phone at (609) 258-2787, or in person at the McCarter Ticket Office, located at 91 University Place in Princeton. The production's running time is two hours and thirty minutes, including one intermission.
Post-Show Discussions - Sunday, October 21 and Thursday, October 25
Post-show discussions are interactive conversations facilitated by a member of McCarter's artistic staff, often featuring cast members. Post-show discussions occur directly following the 2 p.m. performance on Sunday, October 21 and the 7:30 p.m. performance on Thursday, October 25.
Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson