The final production in Signature Theatre’s Signature Features season will be Detroit ‘67, written by MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, The Detroit Project) and directed by Candis C. Jones (The Public Theater’s shadow/land, Primary Stages’ Morning in America). Detroit ‘67 depicts abrupt changes to the lives of the Poindexter siblings during the 1967 Detroit uprising.
“The Poindexters embody what Black people have been modeling for centuries,” says director Jones. “Community anchors us and keeps us alive.”
In 1967 Detroit, Motown has hit its groove and the Poindexter siblings, Chelle and Lank, make ends meet by hosting parties in their basement. However, Lank and his friend Sly have dreams beyond the cellar shindigs—despite Chelle’s resistance. When Lank then brings home a mysterious white woman, the family’s simmering disagreements explode—as their streets erupt in riots—and life becomes a lot more dangerous.
Detroit ’67 stars Stori Ayers (Round House Theatre’s Gem of the Ocean, Lincoln Center’s Pipeline), JaBen Early (Broadway’s The Great Society, Olney Theatre Center’s The Piano Lesson), Valeka Jessica (National Black Theatre’s Loretta, Arena Stage’s A Raisin in the Sun), Emily Kester (Ford’s Theatre’s Silent Sky, Olney Theatre Center’s Labour of Love), and Greg Alverez Reid (Theater Alliance’s Broke-ology, Studio Theatre’s Seven Guitars)—all making their Signature Theatre mainstage debuts.
Detroit ‘67 will be available to stream from August 2 through September 16, 2021, in HD on Marquee TV, an on-demand streaming platform dedicated to global arts and culture. Signature Features subscribers will receive early access to streaming. Single stream tickets are available to purchase for $35 and can be purchased at SigTheatre.org. The show will be available to stream for 72 hours after patron’s initial viewing has begun. Closed Captioning and an audio described version will be available in English.
“Dominique Morisseau is one of the most exciting voices writing for the theater today,” says Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner. “We are thrilled to conclude our unique Signature Features season by presenting her riveting play, beautifully directed by the brilliant Candis C. Jones in this filmed production.”
“It is hard to believe that we have come to the final show in our digital Signature Features season with Detroit ‘67,” says Managing Director Maggie Boland. “This season has pushed our artistic and production boundaries and while we are so excited to welcome back audiences in person in the fall, we are grateful to have had this opportunity to connect with audiences worldwide in such an innovative and meaningful way.”
In addition to Morisseau and Jones, the Detroit ’67 creative team includes Scenic Design by Milagros Ponce de León (Ford’s Theatre’s Silent Sky, Gala Hispanic Theatre’s Life is a Dream), Costume Design by Moyenda Kulemeka (1st Stage’s The Brothers Size, GALA Hispanic Theatre’s La tía Julia y el escribidor), Lighting Design by John D. Alexander (Theater Alliance’s This Bitter Earth, Keegan Theatre’s Airness), Sound Design by Kendric Maxey (Hallam Players’ A Christmas Carol, Our Lady of 121st Street’s Animal Farm), Wig Design by Anne Nesmith (Signature’s Grand Hotel, Olney Theatre Center’s Singin’ in the Rain), Dialect Coach Kim Bey (Signature’s The Scottsboro Boys, Shakespeare Theatre’s The Amen Corner), Dramaturg Martine Kei Green-Rogers (Round House Theatre’s She Brought Her Heart Back in a Box, The Kennedy Center’s Long Way Down), Casting by Kelly Crandall d’Amboise (Simply Sondheim, Light Years), and Production Coordinator Kerry Epstein (Daniel J. Watts’ The Jam: Only Child, After Midnight). The production was filmed by Chiet Productions, Director of Photography Justin Chiet, Associate Producer/Editor James Gardiner, with assistant editing by Natalie Ridgley.
DETROIT ’67 CAST
Stori Ayers (Chelle) NYC: Ensemble Studio Theatre: Travisville; National Black Theatre: Blood at the Root; Lincoln Center: Pipeline. DC AREA: Round House: Gem of the Ocean, Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3; Anacostia Playhouse: Yellowman. REGIONAL: Indiana Repertory Theatre & Syracuse Stage: A Raisin in the Sun; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park: Jitney; Chautauqua Theatre Company: The Christians, Detroit ’67; Pennsylvania Centre Stage: Doubt; Barbecue; Love’s Labours Lost; In the Red and Brown Water; Premiere Stages: Foster Mom; Horizon Theatre: An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein; Voodoo, Sex, & Magic. TV: TBS: The Last OG; RARE Lotus Productions: The Next Right Thing.
JaBen Early (Lank) BROADWAY: Lincoln Theater: The Great Society. DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: The Piano Lesson; Folger Theatre: Julius Caesar; Woolly Mammoth: The Convert, Civilization; Studio Theatre: Fucking A; Round House Theatre: Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3; Arena Stage: All The Way, Ruined, The Great Society. REGIONAL: Guthrie: We Are Proud, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner; Marin Theatre Company: The Convert; Interact Theatre: We Are Proud. EDUCATION: Morehouse College.
Valeka Jessica (Bunny) SIGNATURE: At The Full Yum. NEW YORK: National Black Theatre: Loretta. INTERNATIONAL: The Barbican Center (London): I’m a Motherf*****g Superstar: So Where Are My Babies?. DC AREA: Arena Stage: A Raisin in the Sun; Round House Theatre: Father Comes Home from the Wars; Rep Stage: Sunset Baby. REGIONAL: Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play; Synchronicity Theatre: I’m a Motherf*****g Superstar: So Where Are My Babies?; NNPN: The Promotion; The Unexpected Festival: Branches Etched Across the Sky. FILM: The Runaways (Bronzelens Festival Oscar contending category), Unordinary Love. OTHER: The V Network: Film: Petty Anniversary; Theatre: I’m a Motherf*****g Superstar: So Where Are My Babies?; Talk Show: Blossoming After Divorce. IG: @valekajessica www.valekajessica.com
Emily Kester (Caroline) DC AREA: Ford’s Theatre: Silent Sky; Olney Theatre Center: Labour of Love; Everyman Theatre: The Revolutionists, Noises Off; Studio Theatre: The Hard Problem, Edgar and Annabel; Theater J: The Last Schwartz; Constellation Theatre: Equus; Rorschach Theatre: She Kills Monsters; NextStop Theatre: Eurydice; Imagination Stage: Anatole: Mouse Magnifique!, Davy Copperfield, The Little Mermaid, The BFG, 101 Dalmatians, Double Trouble. EDUCATION: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Greg Alverez Reid (Sly) OFF BROADWAY: New Federal Theatre/Castillo Theatre: The Fabulous Miss Marie. DC AREA: Theater Alliance: Broke-ology; The Kennedy Center: Locomotion; Studio Theatre: Seven Guitars; African Contiuum Theatre Company: A Lesson Before Dying. REGIONAL: People’s Light Theatre: All My Sons; McCarter Theatre Center/Long Wharf Theatre: Fences (directed by Phylicia Rashad); Hanger Theatre: Gem of The Ocean. TV/FILM: HBO/HBO MAX: Between The World And Me, The Apollo. EDUCATION: Howard University BFA; the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford. gregalverezreid.com Instagram/Twitter: @gregariousreid
DETROIT ’67 CREATIVE TEAM
Dominique Morisseau (Playwright) is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle), which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit ’67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie’s (Premiere Stages). She is also the Tony-nominated book writer on the new Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre). Dominique is an alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer’s Group, Women’s Project Lab and Lark Playwrights Workshop, and has developed work at Sundance Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. She most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series Shameless (3 seasons). Additional awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, Obie Award (2), Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, Variety’s Women of Impact for 2017-18, and a recent MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow.
Candis C. Jones (Director) NEW YORK: The Public Theater: shadow/land, cullud wattah; NYU Tisch: Everybody; Joe’s Pub: Trapt; Fault Line Theater/New Group: shadow/land; American Academy: The Wolves; New Black Fest: Brother Rabbit; The Drama League: New Shoes; Primary Stages: Morning in America. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Name Calling. REGIONAL: Alliance Theater: 53% OF; Bay Area Playwrights Festival: House of the Negro Insane; Detroit Public Theater: Pipeline; A.C.T. New Strands Festival: Nike. INTERNATIONAL: Zanzibar International Film Fest: TEMBO!. AWARDS/FELLOWSHIPS: 2016 Lilly Award, WP Theater’s 2018-2020 Lab, Drama League Alumni. UPCOMING: Page 73: Bitch; Williamstown Theatre Festival: Solo Plays by Black Playwrights; Cincinnati Playhouse: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play. www.candiscjones.com
Milagros Ponce de León (Scenic Design) DC AREA: Ford’s: Artistic Associate: Silent Sky, Into the Woods, Jefferson’s Garden, Ragtime; Olney Theatre: Miss You Like Hell, Matilda, In the Heights, Sweeney Todd, Carousel, Once on this Island; Gala Hispanic Theatre: Life is a Dream, Elliot a Soldier’s Fugue, The Sins of Sor Juana; Imagination Stage: The Little Mermaid, Heidi, 101 Dalmatians, Rapunzel; Kennedy Center Family Theatre, Rep Stage, Round House Theatre, Theatre Alliance, Studio Theatre 2nd Stage. REGIONAL: Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Everyman Theatre, Penn State Centre Stage. AWARDS: 5 Helen Hayes nominations. TEACHING: Head of BFA Theatre Design & Technology at Penn State, member of USA-829. EDUCATION: University of Maryland: MFA Scenic Design, MFA Studio Arts; Pontifical Catholic University of Peru: BFA Drawing & Painting.
Moyenda Kulemeka (Costume Design) DC AREA: 1st Stage: The Brothers Size; Trying; GALA Hispanic Theatre: La tía Julia y el escribidor; Exquisita Agonia; La vida es sueño; Como agua para chocolate; En el tiempo de las mariposas; La foto; Mosaic Theater: Fabulation; The Till Trilogy (in-production), Adventure Theatre: Tinker Bell; NextStop Theatre: East of Eden; Singin’ in the Rain; Fallen Angels. The Welders: Switch; The In Series: From U Street to the Cotton Club; We Happy Few: Macbeth; The Dog in the Manger; Pericles; Young Playwright’s Theatre: Three Cheers to Grace. REGIONAL: Caine Lyric Theatre: A Raisin in the Sun.
John D. Alexander (Lighting Design) OFF-BROADWAY: Migration- Reflections on Jacob Lawrence (National Tour). DC AREA: This Bitter Earth, Topdog/Underdog (Helen Hayes Nomination), Fabulation or the Re-Education of Undine, Marie and Rosetta, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Airness, Darius and Twig, Black Nativity, Disgraced, HERstory, Black Berry Winter, The Gospel at Colonus, Happiness (and Other Reasons to Die), King Lear, Broke-ology, American Moor, Anne and Emmett (National and European Tour). REGIONAL: Paradise Blue, Skeleton Crew, Royale, The Snowy Day and Other Stories. TV: PBS: No Child. OTHER: Step Afrika! (National and European Tour), Green is the New Black (National Tour). UPCOMING: Sheepdog, House of the Negro Insane, Haint Blu.
Kendric Maxey (Sound Design) DC AREA: Hallam Players: A Christmas Carol, Our Lady of 121st Street, Animal Farm, Circle Mirror Transformation.
Anne Nesmith (Wig Design) SIGNATURE: Grand Hotel, Passion, A Little Night Music, La Cage aux Folles, Road Show, West Side Story, Girlstar, Cabaret, Kid Victory, Elmer Gantry, The Threepenny Opera, Miss Saigon, Hairspray, Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, Ace. DC AREA: Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Washington Ballet, Washington National Opera. REGIONAL: Opera Philadelphia, Opera Boston, Wolf Trap Opera, Castleton Festival, Delaware Theatre Company, Annapolis Opera, Opera Delaware, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Baltimore Opera Company (Resident Wig/Makeup Designer). INTERNATIONAL: Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Nishinomiya, Japan; Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, Matsumoto, Japan. TV: MD Public Television: Francis Scott Key and the Song that Built America; Military Channel: Great Planes; Investigation Discovery: Ice Cold Killers. OTHER: The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Cultures in Motion Programs; US Army’s tour Spirit of America.
Kim Bey (Dialect Coach) SIGNATURE: The Scottsboro Boys. DC AREA: The Shakespeare Theatre: The Amen Corner; Round House: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, Once on This Island; Mosaic Theatre: Queens Girl in Africa, Queens Girl in the World, Fabulation, Blood Knot, A Human Being Died That Night; Arena Stage: Turn Me Loose, Ruined, Cuttin’ Up, The Piano Lesson, Born Yesterday; Everyman: Queens Girl Series, Brothers Size, A Raisin in the Sun; Woolly Mammoth: The Convert; Studio Theatre: Passing Strange, In the Red and Brown Water; Theater J: In Darfur, The Call. TEACHING: Professor/Acting, Howard University; Certified Associate Teacher Fitzmaurice Voicework; National Alliance of Acting Teachers.
Martine Kei Green-Rogers (Dramaturg) DC AREA: The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: Long Way Down; Round House Theatre: She Brought Her Heart Back in a Box, Ohio State Murders. REGIONAL: Marin Theatre Company: The Catastrophist; Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Hairspray, The Book of Will, Shakespeare in Love, Comedy of Errors, To Kill A Mockingbird, Fences, African Company Presents Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Court Theatre: King Hedley II, Radio Golf, Five Guys Named Moe, Blues for An Alabama Sky, Gem of the Ocean, Waiting for Godot, Seven Guitars, The Mountaintop, Home; The Goodman: Sweat.
Kerry Epstein (Production Coordinator) SIGNATURE: Resident Stage Manager: Fifteen seasons and over 65 productions. Selected credits include Simply Sondheim, Gun & Powder, A Chorus Line, Assassins, Blackbeard, Grand Hotel, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Billy Elliot, Passion, The Scottsboro Boys, John, Light Years, Crazy for You, A Little Night Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing, Titanic, Freaky Friday, Jelly’s Last Jam, West Side Story, Cabaret, Sunday in the Park with George, Miss Saigon, Company, Shakespeare’s R&J, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Sunset Boulevard, First You Dream, Les Miserables, The Visit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Studio, The Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, Nevermore. Stage Management mentor for Signature in the Schools. INTERNATIONAL: Dublin Theater Festival. DC AREA: The Kennedy Center New Visions/New Voices, Arena Stage/Georgetown University. REGIONAL: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, EDUCATION: Dickinson College.
Justin Chiet (Director of Photography) SIGNATURE: After Midnight, Midnight at The Never Get, Daniel J. Watts’ The Jam: Only Child, Simply Sondheim, Signature Vinyl, over 7 years of Signature marketing content. DC AREA: Ford’s Theatre: One Destiny; Olney Theatre Center: A Christmas Carol, Singin’ in the Rain; Arena Stage; TheaterWashington; Synetic Theatre Company; Woolly Mammoth Theater Company; Folger Shakespeare Theatre Library. TV: PBS: Live At 9:30. FILM: The glowmedia project: King of the World, other short films in the Mental Health Educational Series. OTHER: Several outdoor music festivals for iHeartRadio, feature length American adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear.
James Gardiner (Associate Producer/Editor) SIGNATURE: After Midnight, Midnight at The Never Get, Daniel J. Watts’ The Jam: Only Child, Simply Sondheim, Signature Vinyl and over 500 marketing, education, and development videos. DC AREA: Ford’s Theatre: One Destiny; Olney Theatre Center; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Folger Theatre; Synetic Theatre Company; TheatreWashington.
Signature is widely recognized as the premiere venue in Washington to see musical theater, especially new musicals. Recently called “a dream for patrons” and “the gold standard for producing musicals” by The Washington Post, Signature is renowned for its interpretations of Stephen Sondheim’s work, inventive adaptations of overlooked or forgotten musicals, and investment in fresh new projects. The Theatre is an industry leader in developing and producing new work and is home to the largest musical theater development program in the United States.
Signature features the finest talent from the D.C. metropolitan area and New York on its stages and has been a creative home to such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Sheryl Crow, Barry Levinson, George Hearn, Emily Skinner, Kathleen Marshall, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, Deborah Monk, Boyd Gaines, Heidi Blickenstaff, James Lapine, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company’s signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Under the leadership of Maggie Boland, Managing Director, Signature draws more than 100,000 patrons annually to its Arlington home and has been cited for its achievements by a wide range of local and national media.
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