DETROIT '67 to Head to Harlem Following Run at The Public Theater, 3/23-4/14

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 or by calling 866-811-4111. For group sales contact Nicole Judd of Walker International Communications Group at 718-703-2260 or

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.

Kwame Kwei-Armah (Director) is Artistic Director of Baltimore Centerstage and Chancellor of the University of the Arts London. He has served as Writer in Residence for the Old Vic and BBC Radio. Amongst his many plays, Elmina's Kitchen, Fix Up, and Statement of Regret premiered at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, with Elmina's Kitchen transferring to London's West End, making him the first Black British playwright to have that honor. Kwame was awarded an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II on her Jubilee Honours List for Services to Drama. His other awards include the Olivier Award, BAFTA nominations, Evening Standard Charles Wintor Award, Screen Nation Award, 100 Black Men of Britain Public Figure Award, GPA Man of the year, and the RECON Local Community Leadership Award. He also served as a Good Will Ambassador for Trade for Christian Aid (2003-2008). He is currently on the board of TCG and serves on the Steinberg Playwright Award Advisory Committee. Plays he has directed at Centerstage include Things of Dry Hours, The Whipping Man, Enemy of the People, and The Mountaintop. At the Tricycle Theatre he has directed Let There be Love, and Seize the Day. He also directed the opening ceremony of the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture in Dakar, Senegal.

De'Adre Aziza (Bunny) last appeared at The Public in Passing Strange. Her Broadway credits include Passing Strange and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Her additional Off-Broadway credits include A Civil War Christmas, Doris to Darlene A Cautionary Valentine, and Dream on Monkey Mountain. Her film and television credits include Red Hook Summer, Miracle at St. Anna, "30 Rock," "Ugly Americans," and "Sex and the City."

Francois Battiste (Lank) has appeared at The Public in The Winter's Tale, The Merchant of Venice, and The Good Negro. His Broadway credits include Magic/Bird and Prelude to a Kiss. He has also appeared Off-Broadway in Broke-ology and 10 Things To Do Before I Die. His film and television credits include One Week, Delivering the Goods, 5150, Person of Interest,; Are We There Yet?,; and The Good Wife.

Brandon J. Dirden (Sly) has appeared on Broadway in Clybourne Park, Enron, and Prelude to a Kiss. His Off-Broadway credits include the recent production of The Piano Lesson, Peter and the Starcatcher and The First Breeze of Summer. His television credits include The Big C and House of Payne.

Samantha Soule (Caroline) has appeared on Broadway in The Philanthropist, Coram Boy, and Dinner at Eight. Her Off-Broadway credits include A Summer Day, A Little Journey, Gabriel, The Voysey Inheritance, White Chocolate, and Valhalla. Her film and television credits include Revolutionary Road; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; and Smash.

Michelle Wilson (Chelle) has appeared regionally in Follow Me to Nellie's, The Trial of One Short, Unspeakable: Richard Pryor, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Fahrenheit 451, State of Miss. vs. Emmitt Till, and For Colored Girls, among others. Her film and television credits include Reverse Cowgirl, Sink, The Bicycle, VoiceBox 3000, and ER.

The Classical Theatre of Harlem combines non-traditional casting, original adaptations, music and dance serving our mission to present great classics of world literature as well as contemporary works that will stand the test of time. It is CTH's vision to create the 21st Century Theatre company whose value to its community is inherent and essential, a company that is engaged in producing theatre that has the capacity to change lives and truly reflects the diversity of ideas and racial tapestry that is America. CTH is purposeful in seeking to create comprehensive access for theatre artists of diverse backgrounds. This includes not only actors, but directors, designers and playwrights. Since its founding in 1999, CTH has presented a world repertory ranging from works by classical playwrights, (Chekhov, Euripides and Shakespeare) established 20th century playwrights (Wilson, Langston Hughes and Walcott) and CTH welcomes Dominique Morisseau to the canon of new plays by emerging playwrights.

Founded by visionary the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer in 1968, the National Black Theatre has pioneered "the healing art of black theatre as an instrument for wholeness in urban communities where entrepreneurial artists of African descent live and work." NBT is committed to developing the full creative potential of its constituency. It is dedicated to the preservation and sustenance of a unique spiritual tradition that flows from an African world-view of art. Our artistic presentation offers an authentic creative expression and must be conserved for the benefit and longevity of people of African descent. All NBT theatrical productions must continue in all aspects of their execution, the tradition of its ancestral legacy-one that fosters self-empowerment. It requires the artist to first redefine the role and function of theatre art. In this process, the first artistic requirement is to develop an art standard that specifically addresses the sensitivities of people of African descent born in America. Because this standard of art emanates from an African world-view and is grounded in spiritual tradition, it removes the separation between audience and stage.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham,
The Public Theater is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure. The Public continues the work of its visionary founder, Joe Papp, by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. Creating theater for one of the largest and most diverse audience bases in New York City for nearly 60 years, the Company today engages audiences in a variety of venues-including its landmark downtown home at Astor Place, which houses five theaters and Joe's Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to its beloved, free Shakespeare in the Park; and the Mobile Unit, which tours Shakespearean productions for underserved audiences throughout New York City's five boroughs. The Public's wide range of programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company's dedication to making theater accessible to all, new and experimental stagings at The Public at Astor Place, and a range of artist and audience development initiatives including its Public Forum series, which brings together theater artists and professionals from a variety of disciplines for discussions that shed light on social issues explored in Public productions. The Public Theater is located on property owned by the City of New York and receives annual support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater's year-round activities.

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