Encore Michigan

World premiere at the Rep explores racial dignity

Preview December 22, 2014 Encore Staff

“Sweet Pea’s Mama” by Robert Lawrence Nelson, a timely story about racial dignity will have its world premiere at the Detroit Repertory Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 08, 2015 at 8:30 p.m. The playwright will be flying in to attend opening night of his play. As is the tradition for opening nights at the Rep, a complimentary champagne afterglow will follow the play with the cast and crew of the production.

Coralee is a maid for Abigail and her family. Among other things she cares for Georgie, Abigail’s grown developmentally challenged son whom she affectionately calls Sweet Pea. On the day Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, a tragedy occurs in Abigail’s home as well that has a devastating effect on everyone, including Coralee’s angry young son, Jerome. In the end racial dignity and familial love are put to an ultimate test.

Robert Lawrence Nelson’s play puts racial indignity and mental challenge in striking juxtaposition. The effect is both disturbing and enlightening. Rare insights occur and stereotypes get jarred. You will not leave the theater unscathed.

Barbara Busby, a founder of the Rep and resident company member, is the director of “Sweet Pea’s Mama.” Last year she directed the amusing and highly regarded production, “A Facility for Living.”

Her cast for “Sweet Pea’s Mama” features two performers familiar to Repertory audiences and two newcomers. Jenaya Jones Reynolds will portray Coralee. She was last seen at the Rep as the troubled daughter in “A Thousand Circlets.” Aaron Kottke will portray Abigail’s developmentally challenged son, Georgie. He was seen at the Rep last season as the kookie activist in “Endangered Species.” Newcomer Emily Rose Merrell will portray Georgie’s mother, Abigail, and newcomer Chris Jakob will portray Jerome, Coralee’s rebellious son.

The show will run Thursdays through Sundays until March 15.

Tickets, fundraisers, Bargain Booklets and Subscriptions remain the most affordable for not-for-profit professional theater in the region. Advance admission is $17, same day tickets are $20. The Rep’s Gold Double Subscription for two people is still the unmatched price of $100 and a Silver Single Subscription stays $50. 10 ticket Bargain Booklets, regular and matinee are $110 and $100 respectively and still make great mini fundraisers. The Theatre is now offering free Champagne to large group fundraisers for the rest of the 2014-15 season.

Purchase tickets by calling the Box Office at 313-868-1347; visit {URL www.detroitreptheatre.com} for more information.

The Detroit Rep has been located in the geographical heart of the city for over 57 years at 13103 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit. It has lighted, adjacent and attended free parking.


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