LAWRENCE — Exploring segregation, police brutality and racial politics of the '60s, “Detroit ‘67” focuses on an African-American widow and her brother, who run an underground party joint, during a volatile, yet culturally and musically rich time in history. “Detroit ‘67” opens Oct. 2 at the University of Kansas University Theatre.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2-3 and Oct. 6-8 and at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 4 in the William Inge Memorial Theatre at Murphy Hall.
“There is so much that resonates with today’s national conversations around race, gender, police brutality, artistic ownership and representation in the media,” said Zach Sudbury, director and doctoral student in theatre. “It is always insightful to return to pivotal moments of cultural formation and explore what the moment was like then. Mining the past and understanding it in its own context gives insight to the struggles of today.”
As Dominique Morisseau examines the past to reveal the similarities to today as families are faced with the same threats, experiences and history of racial violence, the play resonates in ways that are personal and profound. With the Black Lives Matter movement occurring today, “Detroit ‘67” potentially will spark additional conversations on issues locally and nationally or will provide someone a way into that conversation.
Sudbury says that the language and the integral use of music in Morisseau’s play add to the relatability.
“The language of the play is so fresh. It lifts off the page and has an immediate impact on the reader and then the actor, designer and audience,” Sudbury said. “These characters need music in a deeply moving and even possessive way. Anyone who has felt that need will find something very relatable as well.”
The company includes Rachel Blackburn, Tulsa, Oklahoma, doctoral student, sound designer; DeAngelo Davis, Lynwood, Illinois, freshman, as Sly Understudy; Cassidy Huscher, Andover senior, costume designer; Krista Jarboe, Girard senior, as Caroline; Izzy Lee, Overland Park senior, as Sly; Colin Neukrich, Topeka senior, lighting designer; Charlotte Nodarse, Leawood sophomore, stage manager; Kelly Simons, Albuquerque, New Mexico, senior, scenic designer; Ayzia Underwood, Denver freshman, as Bunny; Zechariah Williams, Overland Park guest artist, as Lank; and Bri Woods, Overland Park junior, as Chelle.
Tickets for “Detroit ‘67” are on sale now at KU ticket offices and online at www.kutheatre.com. Tickets are also available by calling the University Theatre, (785) 864-3982, and the Lied Center, (785) 864-ARTS. Tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for senior citizens and KU faculty and staff, and $10 for children. KU student tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Season tickets are available for all seven productions for $105 by calling the University Theatre ticket office.
The Department of Theatre is one of four departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.