Detroit’s Mosaic Theatre Revisits Hastings Street

Photo courtesy of the Mosaic Youth Theatre

hen Miller High School's Youth Group (known as the Y-Gees) meets the famous poet Langston Hughes, he convinces them to change their planned musical revue for the school's talent show to reflect their personal experiences, changing their act – and lives – in the process.

The Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit's "Hastings Street" is a musical revisit of life in Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood in the 1940s through the eyes of inner-city youth. Based on a real-life encounter between Hughes and a group of Y-Gees, "Hastings Street" was scripted from oral history and interviews with people who lived as teenagers in the Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods.

"It really captures the good and bad of one of the most exciting eras in Detroit," says Rick Sperling, founder of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.  Sperling wrote "Hastings Streets" with Barton Bund of Blackbird Theatre in Ann Arbor and members of the Mosaic Youth Theatre to commemorate Detroit's 300-year celebration in 2001.

"Our goal is to bring 'Hastings Street' back every four or five years, because this is really a story that needs to be told to the newer generations," Sperling says.


The show opens at 8 p.m. Friday, May 10 at the Detroit Film Theatre inside the Detroit Institute of Arts and will run for two weekends at various times. Tickets are $15 for students and seniors and $22 for general admission.

Visit BLAC Detroit's event calendar for a complete listing of "Hastings Street" dates and times.

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