Plowshares Theatre Company, Michigan’s only professional African American Theater, to present the world premiere of HASTINGS STREET, an original musical set to jazz about Detroit’s Black Bottom community. The musical reimagines the year 1949 at the cusp of the order to tear down the segregated black community in the name of progress, displacing thousands of African American residents, and business owners to build what is known today as I-375. Plowshares Theatre Company season performances of HASTINGS STREET to be presented on July 21 thru July 31, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. at The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 350 Madison Avenue in Detroit, with premiere night on Thursday, July 23, 2022. Detroiters near and far and audiences ages 12 and up are welcome!
HASTINGS STREET will take audiences on a journey when Detroit is electric with anticipation following the passing of the Housing Act by both Houses of Congress and following President Truman’s signing into law a nationwide urban renewal initiative. As the city begins to rewrite its landscape the play explores the lives of those impacted, like Robert Carson, Sr., and his wife Beatrice moving North to open a supper club. And the moment when their only son, World War II Vet Robert, Jr. – “Bobby” to everyone – returns home seeking some normalcy only to be greeted with upheaval. It also explores the story of Bobby’s sister Renita and her husband Marlon, as they try to balance their dreams for the future against their responsibilities to the family. HASTINGS STREET follows this family as they navigate issues of being uprooted on a personal and communal basis.
“Hastings Street represents the official return to the stage for Plowshares after shutting down during the pandemic,” said Gary Anderson, producing artistic director, Plowshares Theatre Company. “Over the last two years, we worked hard developing and researching this piece. This original musical represents the very best of Detroit’s creativity. The cast, band, and creators include hometown artists who will bring to life this important story celebrating the resilience of Black Detroit during a time of tremendous change.”
The exciting cast will feature Broadway Artist Lulu Fall as Renita; notable Jazz and Blues Singer Miche Braden as Mama B; Noah Canales as Marlon; Taurean Hogan as Bobby; Bryana Hall as Naomi; Jesse Boyd-Williams as Emanuel Whethers; and William J. McLin III as Mr. Simpson.
HASTINGS STREET’s creators are Kris Johnson and John Sloan III. Johnson is a six-time Grammy award-winning musician and trumpeter with the Count Basie Orchestra, composer, and educator. He has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious jazz venues including the Apollo Theater, the Blue Note Jazz Club (the US and Japan), Sydney Opera House, Blues Alley, and the Hollywood Bowl. Johnson has also appeared on an impressive list of albums including two Grammy-nominated releases: Tony Bennett’s “A Swingin’ Christmas” and Karen Clark-Sheard’s “All In One.” He received an ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers award and was selected for a 2014 Kresge Artist Fellowship. Johnson has also performed with many jazz greats including Tony Bennett, Patti Austin, Wess Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Hendricks, Monty Alexander, Christian McBride and Jamie Cullum.
Commissioned by Plowshares Theatre Company and generously underwritten with support from The Kresge Foundation, HASTINGS STREET will feature direction by Gary Anderson, choreography by Erika Stowell, scenery by Keith Jackson, lighting by Donald Robert Fox, costume design by Leslie Littell and Krista Brown, and Kelly Pino, serving as production stage manager.
Tickets start at $29 for all performances for HASTINGS STREET and can be purchased by visiting HASTINGS STREET – Music Hall Detroit or calling (313) 887-8500.