Department of Theatre and Dance production focuses on looking beyond labels

<p><strong>Ball State University, Photo Courtesy</strong></p>

Ball State University, Photo Courtesy

Show Dates and Times: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2-3 and 6-10, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 4

Cost: General admission costs $18, student and faculty tickets cost $15 and tickets cost $10 for children

The Department of Theatre and Dance will perform the play “Detroit ’67,” written by Dominique Morisseau, Friday at The University Theatre. 

Andre Garner, assistant professor of acting and director of the show, said the play contains themes of family, community and race. 

“We judge each other based on perceptions of race and how they can picture us, or how we use labels based off our race, and in this play, I think it goes beyond that,” Garner said. 

The play takes place during the 1967 Detroit riots and follows the lives of siblings Chelle and Lank, who convert their basement into an illegal bar to make money.  

Joshua Goodrum-Green, a freshman musical theatre major, portrays the lead character Lank, who he describes as hopeful and determined. 

When preparing for his role, Goodrum-Green said he made sure to research the history of the Detroit riots by watching documentaries and reading articles. 

“I’ve read stories of people who burned their own businesses and properties down because they felt as if, ‘What else do we have to lose?’” Goodrum-Green said. “I think that’s the part that really speaks to me the most.”

Additionally, he said those in the audience who have felt compelled to pursue a dream before will be able to relate to the characters in “Detroit ’67” through their experiences. 

“Everyone has a dream in the show, and everyone has some sort of objective,” Goodrum-Green said. “The idea of hope is what drives them throughout the whole show.” 

As the cast and crew prepare for their opening night performance, Garner hopes audiences take away a better understanding of empathy for one another.

“What’s beautiful about the play, and I think it’s throughout the country as well, is that the thing that unifies both the blacks and the whites in the play is music,” Garner said. “There’s Motown music in our play that serves as the bridge that unites people, and shows that even though we have our differences, it shows how much we actually have in common.” 

Contact Ally Johnson with comments at or on Twitter @IamAllyJ


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