Encore Michigan

Black and Brown Theatre turns to ‘Humbug’

Preview November 30, 2019 David Kiley

DETROIT, Mich.–Black and Brown Theatre is proud to announce the performance dates for their newest holiday show, “Blessed: A Christmas Carol Adaptation”. The modern retelling is written by Julianna Gonzalez, directed by Kennikki Jones-Jones and stars Sasha Joelle Johnson as the iconic villain-turned-hero, Ebony Scrooge. 

“There are a lot of productions of A Christmas Carol going on every year and the question for us was ‘how do we make something different?’” says Artistic Director Emilio Rodriguez who handed control over to director Kennikki Jones-Jones and playwright Julianna Gonzalez for this production. Gonzalez says, “The reality is that women of color are underrepresented in positions of leadership — our team shows that representation is possible and important! It’s powerful to work together and create with our unique perspectives a show that will honor different voices in the community.” 

Thanks to Gonzalez, the production features moments of Spanish spoken by actor Maurizio Dominguez, himself a Mexican-American actor. When asked about the inclusion of Spanish dialogue, Dominguez said, “I think part of the responsibility of creating new theatre pieces is telling stories that reflect the diversity of your community. And that includes showing accurate portayals of the different cultures and languages from the people that make up the community.” 

To reach broader communities, the performance is family-friendly both on and offstage as director Jones-Jones was able to bring her son Phoenix to rehearsals since he plays Tim, a modern version of the famous Tiny Tim. Tim deals with the recent deportation of his Dominican-born mother and the long hours his father puts in at Scrooge’s office, relying on his generous neighbor, Carmen, to help out with dinner and childcare. Jones-Jones says that bringing her son to rehearsals “…cultivates (his) love and appreciation for the theatre and in turn Theatre gains an engaged lifelong patron.”

Black and Brown Theatre has also been fortunate enough to get venues and donors to help sponsor the production so it can be performed completely free. Rodriguez says, “Many of our audiences want to enjoy a performance with their entire family, but when you have 5 people in your family plus relatives, you can end up paying over $300 to see a play. We’re excited to make the performance free so audiences can bring their entire family to get in the holiday spirit.”

Black and Brown Theatre’s presentation of “Blessed: A Christmas Carol Adaptation” performs Sunday December 15 at 1pm at Scarab Club in midtown Detroit and Thursday December 19 at 7pm at Marygrove in Detroit. Admission to both performances is free. Donations can be made via the company’s website: www.blackandbrowntheatre.org 

Week of 12/9/2019

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