American playwright Dominique Morisseau was born March 13, 1978, and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Her mother’s family is from Mississippi and her father’s family is from Haiti. Later, she attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she received her BFA in Acting (2000). There she met her husband, J. Keys, who is also from Michigan. He was born in Detroit but grew up in Southfield on the outskirts of the city. He is a music industry promoter, emcee and hip hop musician. The couple married in 2013. After college, she continued acting and worked with several organizations.
While attending college she began writing plays. She says that the lack of roles for her at the University of Michigan is what drove her to start writing plays. She wrote The Blackness Blues – Time to Change the Tune (A Sister’s Story). After college (2012 – 2013), she received a Playwrights of New York (PoNY) fellowship at the Lark Play Development Center. She has also worked as a Teaching Artist with City University of New York’s Creative Arts Team.
Morisseau says that music plays a huge part in her work and often informs the work that she is writing. “It’s a resource and clue to my work, and music plays a unifier among cultural barriers.”
Her performance career began as a live poetry speaker, primarily performing for her home town community, Harmonie Park in Detroit. At the Lark Play Development Center she worked as an actor in a developmental production of The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, workshopping the role of Camae. In 2013, in a production at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, she reprised the role of Camae once more. She continues acting and has stated that she would not act in any of her plays’ premieres.
Dominique has authored over nine plays, three of which are part of a cycle titled The Detroit Projects. Plays in this cycle include Skeleton Crew, Paradise Blue, and Detroit ’67. She is the Tony-nominated book writer on the new Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations. Dominique is 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. Morisseau was on the list of Top 20 Most Produced Playwrights in America in 2015–16, with 10 productions of her plays being produced nationwide.
When asked about Detroit ’67, she explains this play “explores an explosive and decisive moment in a great American city. The play’s compelling characters struggle with racial tension and economic instability.” Development began at the Public Theater in New York where it was workshopped. Detroit ’67 eventually went on to be featured at the Classical Theatre of Harlem with the National Black Theatre. It was nominated for 8 AUDELCO Theatre Awards and received the 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. To the question, What made you want to tell this story? she answers: “I had just gotten into the Public Theater’s emerging writers group, and I had pitched a three-play cycle that would start with Detroit ’67. I wanted to write a three-play cycle on my hometown to explore what I think are three important eras in shaping the city’s landscape. The riots were something that I had never really learned about, and I wanted to make it something that we could revisit and learn from. I also wanted to contribute a different narrative to the city other than the one the media has portrayed. The Detroit that I know is family, love and good, hard-working people. I wanted to honor them in all of their dimensions in my story.”
See Detroit ’67 November 4-8 at CCBC Catonsville, Center for the Arts, Theatre. Seating is limited and arranged to ensure social distancing, masks are required. To learn more about our other precautions and preparations for this live performance, view the full reopening guide here: https://tinyurl.com/safelyreopen.
Performance Dates: November 4 at 11:10 a.m., November 5, 6 at 7 p.m., November 7 at 2 p.m. (ASL Interpreted), and November 8 at 10 a.m.
General admission $10, Seniors, Students, CCBC Faculty/Staff/Alumni $5, FREE for CCBC Students with current ID
Purchase tickets online at www.ccbctickets or call the Box Office at 443-840-ARTS.